Lions coach Swys de Bruin believes his side can upset the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final on Saturday.
The Crusaders are overwhelming favourites to claim their second consecutive title and ninth overall.
Departing Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said the Crusaders are 20 points better than any other team in the competition, while some bookies expect them to win by more than 18 points on Saturday.
De Bruin said he wouldn’t use those naysayers to motivate his team for the final.
‘This group knows me well. It’s an honour for us to be here and we focus rather on the job at hand and the opponents,’ De Bruin told reporters.
‘Everyone can be beaten … anything can happen on the day. But the fact they [the Crusaders] are favourites is no lie.’
De Bruin said the Lions had learned from last year’s final defeat to the Crusaders at Ellis Park.
‘We were disappointed, but we focused straight away. We knew were going to keep most of the guys for this season.
‘This season has had its own trials and tribulations, a lot of injuries at the wrong time, but all those things build massive character, and it’s that character that pulled us through.’
Lions captain Warren Whiteley said there was no bigger challenge in Super Rugby than beating the Crusaders in Christchurch.
‘If you look at their results in the past couple of weeks, how they’ve just constantly improved. Beating the Hurricanes by 20-odd points, yeah, this is why you play the game, for opportunities like this.’
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