SA ‘A’ vs British & Irish Lions

This match was supposed to be the Lions against a second string Springbok team but it has now taken on a new dimension as a near full strength SA ‘A’ tackle the Lions. This is will be like the unofficial fourth test of the series. The Springbok players are desperate for match practice after the cancellation of the Georgia test match. This will be the first match on tour that the Lions will be seriously tested. The SA ‘A’ team has selected the majority of the team that started the WC final although skipper Siya Kolisi is out after testing positive for Covid 19. This will be a great opportunity for both these set of players to stake their claims for a spot in the first official test. The only players that could be regarded as 3rd choice for the home team are Joseph Dweba and Jasper Wiese. The Lions will use this match as a yardstick as to their progress on this tour. The man that will have a lot to prove is Conor Murray. After his appointment as tour captain he has hardly had a run and the outstanding form of Ali Price has added further pressure on him. The SA ‘A’ team will look to play to the traditional South African way which is to use their big forwards to dominate the opposition. They will not find that easy against a very strong Lions pack. The home team’s biggest problem will be that they are severely under prepared as they have hardly had any match practice. The Lions team has shown great fluidity in attack and a rock solid defence and the home team will struggle to penetrate the Lions.

TIP: There have been calls from various quarters for the Lions to get opposition that will test them and that call has been answered. There are plenty of key match ups but Tom Curry against Pieter-Steph du Toit will be one of the most interesting ones as the last time they met was in the WC final. The selection of Morne Steyn at 10 tells us that the SA ‘A’ will a employ kicking game. The Lions have shown that they are great at counter attacking so the South Africans will have to be pin point with their kicking. The match could be decided by the stronger back and I’m convinced that the SA ‘A’ have the edge in this department especially with their bench strength. The Lions will be looking to disrupt the lineout as hooker Joseph Dweba is making his debut. Maro Itoje is one of the best in the game at stealing lineouts so the South Africans must be accurate. I’m tipping the Lions to win a very close match. The best odds on this bet is at: Worldsportsbetting 1.72, Playabets 1.66 and Sunbet 1.66

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

SA ‘A’ vs British & Irish Lions

  • This is the first meeting between the sides.

Latest results for both teams

This is SA ‘A ‘first match while the British & Irish Lions beat the Sharks 71-31 in their last match.

PREDICTION

It’s been an ultra-impressive start for the Lions on this tour while the SA ‘A’ team is well short on match practice. The Lions form 10 on tour has been Dan Biggar and he will look to continue that form in this match. Josh Adams is in tremendous try scoring form having scored two hat tricks but he is up against arguably the world’s best winger Cheslin Kolbe. Their duel will be filled with speed and power. Maro Itoje so often looked at as the strongman of the team will have his work cut out when he comes up against Eben Etzebeth. These are the two most physical locks in world rugby. The halfback pairing of Biggar and Conor Murray could well be the starting pair for the first test and if the SA ‘A’ can gain the upper hand it will be a major boost ahead of the first test. The fitness and match readiness of the Lions and the rustiness of the SA ‘A’ will prove to be the difference between the sides therefore I predict a Lions win by 5 points.

  • Probable Starting XVs

SA ‘A’

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Sbu Nkosi, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Steven Kitshoff

British & Irish Lions

15 Anthony Watson (England), 14 Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales), 13 Chris Harris (Scotland), 12 Bundee Aki (Ireland), 11 Josh Adams (Wales), 10 Dan Biggar (Wales), 9 Conor Murray (captain, Ireland), 8 Taulupe Faletau (Wales), 7 Tom Curry (England), 6 Josh Navidi (Wales), 5 Iain Henderson (Ireland), 4 Maro Itoje (England), 3 Kyle Sinckler (England), 2 Ken Owens (Wales), 1 Wyn Jones (Wales)

Odds for this bet

The best odds on the British & Irish Lions victory are as follows:

Worldsportsbetting 1.72

Playabets 1.66

Sunbet 1.66

Odds comparison on the British & Irish Lions handicap victory:

The complete odds on the British & Irish Lions handicap victory:

Worldsportsbetting (-2.5) 1.90

Playabets (-2.5) 1.90

Sunbet (-2.5) 1.90

Predictions and Odds in details

The team that wins the forward battle generally wins the match but I think this match could be the exception as the SA ‘A’ may have a slight advantage in the forwards but the Lions have an electric and on form backline. No doubt the SA ‘A’ team has the quality and talent but their lack of playing time and match fitness will count against them. Morne Steyn the hero for the Springboks in the last Lions tour will need to be at his defensive best as the Lions have big ball carrying centres that are going to directly target his channel. The back three of Anthony Watson, Louis Rees-Zammit and Josh Adams are all pacy and the SA ‘A’ will have their work cut out trying to stop them. The bookies are offering fairly decent returns on the Lions win but the value bet is the Lions on the handicap victory. The best odds on this are at Worldsportsbetting (-2.5) 1.90,Playabets (-2.5) 1.90 and Sunbet (-2.5) 1.90

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