Cape Town - The Lions know they will face they toughest test this season when they host the Crusaders in Saturday’s Super Rugby final in Johannesburg.
The Crusaders are the most successful side in the tournament’s history - with seven titles and four runners-up medals.
Swys de Bruin, the Lions’ assistant coach, had the job of assessing why the Crusaders were the most dominant side in Super Rugby history.
"When you do the analysis on the Crusaders you realise why they have been such a strong team over the years. They're just so much more clinical than the other teams. They hang on to the ball for long periods, they prize that possession, and they really work hard for each other," De Bruin was quoted as saying by the superrugby.co.nz website.
New Zealand teams are renowned for adopting expansive game styles but according to De Bruin, the Crusaders are more structured than the other Kiwi sides.
"They're an effort team with an excellent defensive system, run by their head coach (Scott Robertson), so in a way they are the most conservative of the New Zealand sides,” De Bruin said.
"The other teams will give you a few opportunities, like the Hurricanes did last weekend (in the semi-finals), because of the way they play, but not the Crusaders... you've got to work for your chances.”
Saturday’s final at Ellis Park will be De Bruin’s last one as Lions assistant. He will take over the head coaching duties as Johan Ackermann departs to Gloucester in England.