Whiteley: We threw the kitchen sink at the Crusaders
Proud Lions captain Warren Whiteley acknowledged the Crusaders were deserving Super Rugby champions as they battled to a second straight final win.
In a rematch of the 2017 final, the Crusaders again emerged with the title - their ninth - after a superb defensive showing that largely kept the dominant Lions at bay at AMI Stadium.
And although the visitors monopolised possession, Whiteley conceded that the Crusaders' ability to deal with "the kitchen sink" made them worthy winners.
"I'm immensely proud. It's been unbelievable the last couple of years," Whiteley said. "I'm obviously gutted, a bit emotional to be honest, but just immensely proud of each and every individual.
"We gave it everything out there. Credit must go to the Crusaders, to Sam [Whitelock, captain] and his team, they were unbelievable. Everything we threw at them, they stopped. We tried everything, threw the kitchen sink at them.
"They deserve this win, but I'm immensely proud of our boys."