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Boks Level The Series
The Test series is now all-square after South Africa impressively won 29-9 last weekend. It was an extremely fiery affair as both teams looked to muscle past one another and the dominance in the scrum eventually helped the hosts prevail. That sets up what promises to be a thrilling series decider this Saturday.
It was a complete role reversal to the first Test, as the Lion went in at the break ahead before the Springboks came out firing on all cylinders in the second half.
Changes For Both Sides
That has led to Warren Gatland opting to make six changes for this next match in what will feel ‘like a cup final’, as Liam Williams and Josh Adams come into help out in the back three with the likely aerial bombardment, while Bundee Aki, Ali Price, Wyn Jones and Ken Owens get starting births too.
Jacques Nienaber has been forced to make two changes to his team with injuries to key players Faf de Klerk and Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Cobus Reinach comes in for the former, while Lood de Jager comes in for the latter as Franco Mostert moves into the back row.
That shows an obvious tactical selection for South Africans, who’ll look to win the set piece battle with extra height in the lineout and weight in the scrum.
British & Irish Lions To Win
Only two times have the Lions won the opening Test and seen the series go to a deciding game since 1993, coming in 2001 when they lost out to Australia in the final match 29-23, and the other when they beat the Aussies 41-6 in 2013.
That doesn’t give us much to go off, but one factor that is certainly worth considering is that the winner of the opening Test has only lost the series in 14% of the seven tours since 1993.
From a betting perspective, it’s therefore a little surprising to see the hosts as odds-on favourites to take the proceedings without two of their key players.
The handicap line has been drawn at three points and with a lot of positive changes for the visitors to their starting team, we fancy them to cause an upset.
The only worry looks to be in the scrum, but the addition of Wyn Jones in the front row will look to provide more stability and with this looking like a flip of the coin tussle, the value lies with the Lions.
Springboks v British Lions Teams
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 Damian Willemse.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Ali Price, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (Captain), 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Finn Russell, 23 Elliot Daly