The Lions were dealt a huge blow in the 38th minute, when Kwagga Smith was given a red card for tackling David Havili in the air. With the Crusaders already up 12-3 and now a man up in the second half, they pulled away to record an eight point win.
“It’s amazing, the whole group’s been working hard the whole year, and it’s not just the boys here, it’s the guys at home,” captain Sam Whitelock said post-match.
“I’m just so proud of the boys and the way they fronted, especially today.
“We knew we had to keep playing, keep attacking, and full credit to them — they put us under a massive amount of pressure.
“The boys just showed that true grit.”
The win is the first time a Super Rugby side has returned home with the trophy after crossing the Indian ocean for a grand final.