So, the Super Rugby season has come down to this – the Hurricanes and the Lions at Westpac Stadium, with kick-off scheduled for 5:35pm (AEST) today.
The question on everyone’s lips, plain and simple, is who is going to win it? Going into the match, the Hurricanes appear to be the clear favourites.
This is a situation that the Lions may come to rue. In the final round of the season, they conceded the right to finish on top of the table – and thereby claim access to a home final – by resting their first-choice team and coughing up a loss to the Jaguares.
That allowed the Hurricanes to finish on top of the table and as a result they’re now the host for the final after winning their way through in great form.
If this match were being played in Johannesburg, the Lions themselves might well be known as the leading contenders to take out the prize. But, with the Hurricanes holding the home ground advantage, they’re well out in front in the minds of most.
Currently the betting odds see the Hurricanes priced at $1.30 to win, while the Lions are out to $3.65.
For the Hurricanes, it’s a golden opportunity to claim their maiden Super Rugby title after coming so close last season only to fall short.
This is their second consecutive Super Rugby final played at home after they hosted the Highlanders in the decider here last year, but couldn’t get the job done.
The Lions, also looking for their first ever Super Rugby title. They’ve beaten two strong sides in the Crusaders and the Highlanders to get here, and they have a boost in the form of captain Warren Whiteley, returning from injury.
So who will win it? There can be no doubting that the Hurricanes are the favourites, and deservedly so. But don’t count out the Lions and their ability to win against the odds.