Cape Town - Ex-Crusaders coach Robbie Deans believes a win for the seven-time champions in Saturday's final would be their best ever triumph in the competition.
Deans, who coached the Christchurch-based side from 2000 to 2008 and guided them to five tournament victories, acknowledged that they face a formidable task against the Lions in Johannesburg but said his former side can pull off the win away from home.
"If the Crusaders do win this final at Ellis Park, they will genuinely deserve the title," he told Stuff.
When asked if beating the Lions at altitude after a long flight from New Zealand, Deans replied: "The current win is always the best, but, yeah, absolutely.
"It's got unique challenges [playing in South Africa], but these boys are well versed with that. And, it's finite. They know the end is nigh.
"There's good belief in this group and enough experience in these young blokes now.
"They know their lungs are going to burn, but I don't think there's anything that they will be afraid of."
The former Wallabies boss, who currently coaches the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan, admitted that the Crusaders' semi-final win against the Chiefs last weekend had similarities to his team's win over the Brumbies in the 2000 final in Canberra.
In both those matches, the Crusaders had little ball possession, but took their opportunities and kept their opponents at bay with impressive defensive efforts.
"It's an indication of the bond that exist between the players, and I guess it reflects the depth of belief as well," he said.