Crusaders beat 14-man Lions 25-17 in Super Rugby final

Brisbane's Ben Hunt scored a hat trick in their 54-0 thrashing of the Gold Coast Titans

Having led 15-3 at the break, the Crusaders added another 10 before tries from Malcolm Marx and Corne Fourie earned 2016 runners-up the Lions some consolation, as the Crusaders clinched their first silverware since 2008.

The Crusaders have ended their nine long years without a title and have become the first side in Super Rugby history to win a championship after a long-haul flight over the Indian Ocean.

The team has consistently been in the Super Rugby play-offs and ex-Crusader turned coach Scott Robertson said this title, the first in nine years, would put an end to the annual pre-season question fired at the Canterbury franchise.

The red card probably removed the Lions' home-ground advantage as a factor, and hampered their habit of overrunning teams in the final 20 minutes at Ellis Park when the altitude starts to hit the visitors.

The Super Rugby season has been a fairytale campaign for South Africa's Lions, after losing in last year's final. Havili landed dangerously which left referee Jaco Peyper no option but to issue a red card.

Defeat robbed Lions coach Johan Ackermann of a fairytale farewell as it was his last match in charge before taking over English Premiership club Gloucester.

Mo'unga saw his second conversion drift across the posts and wide and Havili was also off target with a long-range penalty attempt.

Jantjies got the first points on the board for the home side when he punished a Crusaders player not rolling away from the ruck with a penalty from the halfway line.

Dalziel said city leaders would talk to the team about how best to mark their victory, but that would not happen until after they returned to New Zealand on Monday night.

The last thing the depleted South Africans needed early in the second half was to concede another try, but that is what happened.

If the home crowd felt dispirited by that development, Kieran Read's converted try within four minutes of the second half getting under way may have dealt the killer blow to any lingering hopes of a turnaround.

The flyhalf then stretched the lead to 25-3 with a penalty and a rout seemed in prospect.

Despite a fearless second-half comeback by the Lions which saw them score two tries through hooker Malcolm Marx and replacement prop Corne Fourie, which were both converted by Jantjies, they ultimately came up short.

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