The Lions had to settle for a runners-up finish for a third heart-breaking year in a row after the Crusaders beat them 37-18 in Saturday’s Super Rugby final in Christchurch.
The Crusaders were simply just too good, patient and then ruthless as they recorded their ninth Super Rugby title after withstanding a brave onslaught from the Lions. The Crusaders lost just two matches in a campaign that started in February and were deserved winners.
They put together a winning streak of 15 matches and extended their play-off record to 21 wins from 21 matches at home.
The Lions couldn’t convert their dominance in the possession and territorial stakes, and their tried-andtrusted rolling maul was thwarted by the hosts on a number of occasions.
However, they put in a brave performance and three runners-up finishes in a row is testament to what a consistent franchise they have become.
Yet, despite being South Africa’s top-performing team over the past three years, it was surprising to see how negatively people reacted on social media afterwards.
The Lions were ridiculed for not being able to get across the line, while flyhalf Elton Jantjies was in particular singled out as the reason for the loss.
Some of the comments were downright disgusting.
It is nothing new for Jantjies, who often cops criticism whenever he puts a Lions or Bok jersey over his head. Sure, he made a few errors, but you don’t get to three Super Rugby finals in a row with a poor flyhalf.
The Lions, and Jantjies in particular, deserve better.