The Super Rugby Final between the Lions and Crusaders is still a few days away, but a sold-out Ellis Park has already been confirmed.
With the Lions having taken on the Australian teams from this Australasian conference this season, Saturday’s finale will be the first meeting between the two sides in 2017.
Both teams finished the regular season with 14 wins from their 15 games, with the Lions claiming the No.1 seed by virtue of two extra bonus points.
But what do the stats say about this weekend’s showdown and what can be learned from the 21 previous editions of Super Rugby’s big dance?
With the help of Opta Stats, we’ve come up with some key numbers ahead of the Johannesburg decider and then, for a bit of fun, why not test your knowledge in our Super Rugby Final quiz?
– The Lions ran out to a 42-25 win when they last met the Crusaders (2016 QF), snapping a seven-game losing streak against the Christchurch club.
– The last time a team won a Super Rugby Final played outside their own home country was the Crusaders in 2000, who did so after travelling to Australia to face the Brumbies in the big dance.
– The Crusaders have been crowned Super Rugby champions on seven occasions previously and featured in 11 finals in total, both records in the competition.
– However, the Christchurch based side have lost each of their last two finals, only the Sharks (L4) have lost more than two in a row when reaching the Final.
– Three of the previous four Finals to be contested by a side from New Zealand and a side from South Africa have been won by the New Zealand outfit (L1), however the one defeat in that run was the heaviest ever in a final (Bulls 61-17 Chiefs).
– Eight of the last 11 Super Rugby Finals have been decided by margins of eight points or fewer, however the three exceptions in that run were all games between a South African side and a team from New Zealand.
– The Lions head into this fixture on the back of a 14-game winning streak; the Crusaders are the only team in Super Rugby history to have won more games in succession, which they’ve done twice (15 straight in 2002-03; 16 straight in 2005-06).
– South African teams have won nine of their last 12 Finals fixtures at home against New Zealand opposition; in fact, the Stormers are the only team in Super Rugby history to have lost such a fixture (4 instances).
– Only once in Super Rugby history has a team contested consecutive finals without winning at least one of them (Crusaders in 2003 & 2004).
– The Lions have scored 30 tries in the final quarter of games so far this season, more than any other team, while they also conceded just five in the same time frame, fewer than any other team.