Lions want to apply finals lessons - Jantjies

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018    Getty Images

Lessons from those two finals, a 3-20 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington in 2016 and 17-25 at home to the Crusaders last year gave the Lions the best possible preparation, he said.

Part of the education was learning from the pain of loss.

"It hurts, if you're playing 20 weeks of rugby and you get into playoffs and a final and not winning it. Again, you are taking experience, learning from those mistakes," he

The Lions had been through a roller coaster this year both on and off the field but it would be important to learn from those experiences and from the last two finals.

Statistics showed the Crusaders were a daunting opponent, especially at home. They are unbeaten in 20 playoffs matches.

"I don't have a fear for them," Jantjies said.

"The biggest thing for this group is guys have been learning in every match. We have been together for three, four, five years.

"I always refer to the historical win that we got against the Chiefs [in Hamilton in 2016]. That comes up in my mind every time," he said.

The Lions were unified and used their systems to overcome opponents.

"The things we've gone through as a group you can't describe. We don't want to put pressure on ourselves. Everything is relaxed. We just have to travel. It's about getting the bodies fresh," he said.

So far as the contest between himself and Crusaders livewire Richie Mo'unga was concerned, Jantjies said the Lions didn't focus on individuals.

"It is the Crusaders against the Lions. It's one system against another," he said.

However, he did acknowledge that Mo'unga was a quality player who enjoyed space and who had quality players around him.

"It is going to be a quality game, of that I can assure you. It will be exciting as well because it is two teams that love scoring tries," he said.

While rain had been forecast for Christchurch around game time on Saturday the Lions would have to be prepared to adapt to deal with the conditions.

However, the contest was always going to involve the battle for superiority up front come rain or shine.

"We are facing an All Blacks pack, and that will be challenging for the guys up front. Our forwards have been producing quality performances," he said.