The Lions’ 2018 performance were far from their best, the side won nine of their 16 matches in the regular season and finished with the fourth-highest amount of log points – less than the Chiefs (49), Hurricanes (51) and Crusaders (63).
However, due to the fact that conference winners are guaranteed the top three playoff spaces the Lions, – who won the South African conference – finished second on the overall log, securing them the right to host a quarterfinal against the Jaguares and a semifinal against the Waratahs.
“There is no doubt that the conference system was in our favour,” Whitely told reporters after the Lions 18-37 defeat to Crusaders on Saturday.
“We finished fourth overall on points, and because of the conference system, we drew a home quarter and the home semi.
“It definitely worked in our favour but as players, you can only play.
“We don’t decide on the conference system.
“In saying that, I still feel that we deserved to be here. We still had to play to get here and the boys deserved to play in the final,” he said.
Boyd said he would prefer a round-robin system where all teams play each other once, rather than splitting the competition into New Zealand, South African and Australian conferences.
With loads of criticism, Whitley mentioned that he fails to see longevity in the current format, echoing Boyd and Read’s sentiments.
“I think it will change in due course,” he said.
“As players, you want to play against everyone. I think it’s fairer that way, and as a player, you enjoy it more when you play against each and every team, you learn more, you grow more.
“So I’m sure it will change.
By Leezil Hendricks
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