All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says there is no guarantee the Crusaders will beat the Lions in the Super Rugby final in Christchurch on Saturday.
The Lions, beaten finalists in 2016 and 2017, will have to battle travel fatigue and jet lag before facing the defending champions.
However, at a press conference on Wednesday, Hansen warned the Crusaders to be prepared for a tough final.
‘I think they [Crusaders fans] need to be a bit more aware that it’s only a two-horse race,’ Hansen said. ‘You’ve only got to think back to 2007 in Cardiff [the All Blacks’ World Cup quarter-final]. People didn’t think that France could win and we got smacked quite badly.
‘So you would expect the Crusaders to go out favourites and rightly so because they’ve played some wonderful football. But there’s no guarantee they’re going to win it. They’re going have to go out and earn it, and that’s a pretty good Lions side, I think.
‘When you look at a contest like this one, you say to yourself who’s going to dominate the scrums and you can’t really say; who’s going to dominate the lineouts and you can’t really say,’ Hansen added. ‘So it’s who’s going to turn up on the night and get it right. Who’s going to supply the right amount and right quality of ball to the backs, and both backlines are quite exciting.’
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