Preparation week was best ever - Robertson

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Sunday, August 6, 2017    Getty Images

Robertson, who also achieved the feat at his first attempt, said the week of preparation for the side was probably the greatest he had experienced with a rugby team.

"It's pretty special to do it as a player, now as a coach, especially on the stage it was today. We really worked hard and we created opportunities to create history and we have. An amazing atmosphere, an incredible cauldron and it's just another part of our history," he said.

Success would also put an end to the persistent comments that they hadn't won the title for a while so that would be nice, he said. And while they did if for themselves and for their people they also did it for the past Crusaders as well.

"They set high expectations. We've got a number of All Blacks that have won at the All Blacks level but they have now as a Crusader so we've put that well and truly to bed," he said.

"One good thing about us coming away from home, you get to live next to each other in the same place for a week. We were really diligent, recovered well and in some ways the mid-winter break was the best thing for us.

"You can't under-estimate being up here at altitude, how much of an advantage it is and they played over the top of us.

"With 20 minutes to go the boys were shattered. Mentally it was just so tiring," he said.

While the Lions were forced to play 42 minutes with 14 men after flanker Kwagga Smith was red-carded for dangerous play on Crusaders fullback David Havili, Robertson had no qualms about the decision.

"I think the process was correct. Jaco [Peyper] was calm, he was clear. He thought it was red, the TMO thought it was red, to the letter of the law it was red…it's just a shame it happened in a final.

"Kwagga Smith had an unbelievable season and we knew he was a big threat. It's a shame…it probably did affect the outcome to an extent."

That was borne out in the last 20 minutes when the numbers worked in the Crusaders favour as the Lions mounted their late surge.

Captain Sam Whitelock added to his personal trophy cabinet which already includes two Rugby World Cup winners' medals and said there were several of the players who had been involved with the Crusaders for eight or nine years and who had never tasted Super Rugby title victory.

"Out there it was awesome to look your mate in the eye, no words needed to be spoken and the emotion came out of everyone. To have that feeling is amazing, not only for us but for the guys at home too who have had a massive year. We can't wait to get home connect with them and share these moments with them," he said.