All Blacks coach Steve Hansen watches over a training session. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says the Lions have "a very good forward pack" and that there is no guarantee the Crusaders will win Saturday's Super Rugby final in Christchurch, New Zealand.

"While you would expect the Crusaders to go out as favourites, and rightly so because they have played some wonderful football, there's no guarantee they're going to win it. They're going to have to go out and earn it and it's a pretty good Lions side," said Hansen. "I think the Lions forward pack is very good and they have some exciting backs. It's not a given and hopefully, the Crusaders get up and win it - it would be great to see them do it."

Looking at the two teams it wasn't possible to say who was going to dominate the scrums and lineouts so it became a case of who turned up on the night and got things right to provide the right amount, and quality, of football to the backs and both backlines were quite exciting, Hansen said.

The spotlight could fall on the flyhalves, Richie Mo'unga for the Crusaders or Elton Jantjies for the Lions, and how they handle the pressure applied to them. Hansen will also be watching the form of All Blacks captain and Crusaders No 8 Kieran Read on Saturday. 

His return to rugby had been pleasing and he was getting more and more game time. The nerve damage he had suffered took time to come right and he would be looking to pick up his speed over the next month or so.

"When he does that it looks like he will be right back to his very, very best so we know that's a pretty good level of a rugby player. So we're looking forward to getting him back and having his leadership," he said. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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