Preview: Super Rugby Final

Super Rugby
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

It’s the final match of 2016, - who will be crowned Super Rugby champions?

The Hurricanes will host their second consecutive grand final and will be looking for a different result, having lost to the Highlanders 21-15 last year.

On the other side, the Lions were relegated from the Super Rugby competition in 2013 but have returned bigger and better and are set for their first final in the club’s history.

Key stats

The Hurricanes have won nine of their 10 clashes against the Lions.

The Hurricanes are searching for an eighth consecutive victory, which would be a club record.

A new Super Rugby champion will be crowned on Saturday, meaning five of the last six years have provided a first time winner.

Key changes

Hurricanes captain Dane Coles is the only potential change to the line up for Saturday’s final, with Coles being bracketed alongside Ricky Riccitelli. Coles suffered a rib injury two weeks ago and are being a late withdrawal last week, will once again be in a race against time to be fit for the final.

The Lions will be boosted by the return of their captain Warren Whitely who has overcome a calf injury to be fit for the final. Whitely will be a huge inclusion for the Lions after they defeated the Highlanders last weekend.

Key match up

Beauden Barrett vs Elton Jantjies

The X-factor and class that both flyhalves bring to their side has shown in recent weeks. Barrett was instrumental in the Hurricanes' win over the Chiefs last weekend to almost lock in the starting number 10 jersey for the All Blacks.

Jantjies has also enjoyed a stellar season, with his form earning a return to the Springboks squad for the first time since 2012. His creativity will cause headaches for the ‘Canes, and he’s in top flight after scoring 22 points in the last week’s semi-final.

Where the match will be won

We know how dangerous both sides are in attack, and their game plan to throw the ball around, but tonight’s final is going to come down to defence. Whichever team can nullify the opposition’s attacking threats will go a long way to winning. The last three Super Rugby finals have been decided by less than seven points, so we can expect another close encounter.


James Marshall, Cory Jane, Matt Proctor, Willis Halaholo, Jason Woodward, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, Michael Fatialofa, Vaea Fifita, Ben May, Dane Coles (c)/Ricky Riccitelli, Loni Uhila

Reserves: Riccitelli/Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Reggie Goodes/Mike Kainga, Mark Abbott, Callum Gibbins/Tony Lamborn, Jamison Gibson-Park, Vince Aso, Julian Savea


Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley (c), Warwick Tecklenburg, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert, Andries Ferreira, Julian Redelinghuys, Malcolm Marx, Dylan Smith

Reserves: Armand van der Merwe, Corne Fourie, Jacques van Rooyen, Lourens Erasmus, Ruan Ackermann, Ross Cronje, Howard Mnisi, Jaco van der Walt