Cape Town - The Crusaders were crowned deserved 2018 Super Rugby champions when they beat the Lions in the final in Christchurch on Saturday.
The victory was an incredible ninth title for the champion New Zealand side in the tournament's 23-year history.
For the Lions, who were brave throughout with their never-say-die attitude, it was a third consecutive final defeat.
The Crusaders scored four tries through wing Seta Tamanivalu, fullback David Havili, replacement scrumhalf Mitchell Drummond and lock Scott Barrett. Man of the match flyhalf Richie Mo'unga, who sent a reminder to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen with a polished all-round performance, added all four conversions as well as three penalties for a personal haul of 17 points.
The Lions replied with tries by impressive flank Cyle Brink and hooker Malcolm Marx. Flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who had a night to forget, added a conversion and a two penalties.
To run salt into the Lions' wounds, the Crusaders' 4-2 try advantage saw the Crusaders overtake the Johannesburg side as this season's leading try-scoring team having entered the final a single five-pointer behind.
The players will break for a fortnight before battle recommences in the Rugby Championship, starting on Saturday, August 18.
Both the All Blacks and Springboks squads for the tournament will be named on Monday.
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