The Hurricanes have practically everything in their favour ahead of the Super Rugby final apart from one thing – their opponents.
In May the Hurricanes thumped the Lions 50-17 in Johannesburg and Saturday’s final in Wellington will be their third play-off match in a row on home soil.
And Lions coach Johan Ackermann will still be ruing the decision, with a quarter-final in the bag, to field an understrength side against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, where a shock loss ceded top spot and the subsequent home final to the Hurricanes.
It has all the ingredients for a South African side being thrashed in New Zealand but the Lions resemble more a New Zealand side than any other in the republic.
“They are a perfect mix of both [New Zealand and South African sides],” said No.8 Victor said, who will play his 100th and final match for the Hurricanes.
“They’ve got a tight five that can really rumble but I’ve seen them run around in open spaces. They’ve got threats all across the field. They are South Africans but with a New Zealand flair as well.”
Vito did not think the travel factor would be an excuse for a poor Lions performance.
“I don’t think it’s going to come down to that,” he said.
“It’s the final game. They’ll want to come and play.”
Both teams have fitness doubts about their skippers.
The Hurricanes’ Dane Coles has a rib injury, which forced him to sit out the 25-9 semi-final win over the Chiefs, and management say they will have a fair idea about the hooker’s fitness by Friday.
Lions No.8 Warren Whiteley has played just 54 minutes since injuring his shoulder for the Springboks against Ireland in June and missed the 42-30 semi-final victory over the Highlanders.