Lions vs Sharks

These two teams come into this match with contrasting fortunes as the Sharks have lost their last two games while the Lions upset the log leading Bulls in their last match. The Sharks coach has decided to make wholesale changes in this game and the Lions have kept the same team from their last match. The decision to change the Sharks team may be as a result of those losses but they will welcome back Springbok wing Makazole Mapimpi. The Lions team has shown great improvement and was unlucky to lose against the Stormers two weeks ago. They came into the Rainbow Cup with an inexperienced squad but players like Vincent Tshituka and MJ Pelser have put their hands up and shown they are stars in the making. The form of teenager Jordan Hendrikse has been a revelation and he has been the main reason that the Lions have looked so good in their last two matches. The obvious strength of the Lions team is their scrum and they impressively demolished the Bulls at the scrum which not many teams have ever done. The props Carlü Sadie and Sithembiso Sithole were also excellent against the Springbok front row of the Stormers.  The Sharks know that for them to have any chance of winning the title they will need a bonus point victory although this won’t be easy against a Lions team on the rise. The home team will rue having lost their opening matches as they are the only team out of the running for the title. This match will be interesting to see how Sharks new fullback Anthony Volmink goes against his former team.

TIP: The Sharks seem to be using a tactic the Bulls used against them whereby they have selected their starting front row on the bench. They are obviously counting on them to take control at the scrum in the latter stages of the match. The visitors know that their poor scrum cost them victory against the Stormers in their last match. The decision to start Werner Kok in the midfield could be an excellent one as he has the power and skill to release the dangerous backline stars like Mapimpi and Yaw Penxe. It remains to be seen if the tactic of changing the team works for them but I feel it’s always good to get fresh legs for the Highveld altitude. The bookies have the Sharks as slight favourites and I agree with this assessment. The best odds on the Sharks victory are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.75, Playabets 1.65 and Sunbet 1.60

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

Lions vs Sharks

  • In the last seven matches between the sides there have been five Sharks wins and just two for the Lions.
  • The last four matches between the teams have been won by the home team.
  • The Sharks won their most recent encounter 34-26.

Latest results for both teams

The Lions won their last match against the Bulls 34-33 while the Sharks lost their last match against the Stormers 25-22.

PREDICTION

The Sharks have looked flat in their previous two games and I’m sure Coach Everitt will want to see a positive response from the players that he has brought in the team. The Lions on the other hand have grown in stature game to game and finally seem to have found a replacement for Elton Jantjies. Not only does Jordan Hendrikse have great game management skills but possesses a siege gun boot that allows him to kick 60m penalty goals. The visitors will need to be disciplined even in their own half otherwise he will punish them. The new players of the Sharks will want to impress the coach and they will come out firing therefore I am predicting a Sharks victory by 5 points.  

  • Probable Starting XVs

Lions

15 EW Viljoen, 14 Rabz Maxwane, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Jordan Hendrikse  , 9 André Warner, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 MJ Pelser, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlü Sadie, 2 Pieter Botha, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.

Sharks

15 Anthony Volmink , 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Werner Kok, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Makazole Mapimpi , 10 Mannie Libbok, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi , 7 Henco Venter, 6 James Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Wiehahn Herbst , 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu

The best odds on the Sharks victory are as follows:

Odds for this bet

Worldsportsbetting 1.75

Playabets 1.65

Sunbet 1.60

Odds comparison on the Sharks handicap:

The complete odds on the Sharks handicap:

Worldsportsbetting (-1.5) 1.90

Sunbet (-1.5) 1.92

Playabets (-2.5) 1.85

Predictions and Odds in details

The Sharks have learnt from the past two matches where they lost the game due to their scrum being dominated in the last 20 minutes. This tactic of keeping their strongest front row will win them this game. It is especially important on the Highveld to have fresh legs as the altitude can have a telling effect on players. The selection of Mannie Libbok as flyhalf tells us that the Sharks will adopt a running approach to the game and if he can find some space then he could be the match winner for his team. The return from injury of tearaway flank James Venter wills also aid in the running game as he has the pace of a winger. He will be keen to impress against his former employers. The Sharks still need to at least gain parity in the scrums otherwise the Lions will take this one. There is decent money returns on the Sharks win but I suggest them on the handicap for more value. The best odds on the Sharks handicap are: Worldsportsbetting (-1.5) 1.90, Sunbet (-1.5) 1.92 and Playabets (-2.5) 1.85

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