Having won their first four tests in relatively convincing style, the Lions tasted defeat for the first time on this tour when they lost to South Africa ‘A’ last time out, though in fairness that was one of the strongest ‘B’ string sides anyone is likely to face with as many as 18 world cup winners in the squad, and a narrow defeat there isn’t the worst thing in the world for the travelling side.
This should be a more straightforward challenge for the Lions and they’d expect to get back to winning ways by a very comfortable margin before heading into the three test series with the Springboks.
Alun Wyn-Jones has supposedly recovered enough from his dislocated shoulder three weeks ago for a spot on the bench, though with an injury that serious it’s unlikely he’ll be risked in this game with Adam Beard and Jonny Hill occupying the starting lock positions.
Stormers +38 Point Handicap
The Stormers had a strong Super Rugby Unlocked campaign at the end of last year as they finished second, though they had the same record as the Sharks and recent head to heads would suggest they’re on a similar level.
Indeed, the Sharks lead the recent head to heads 3-2, with none of those games being separated by more than 10 points and four of the five seeing them split by a maximum of five.
The Sharks didn’t get within 40 points of the Lions in either attempt so far, and we’d expect a similarly convincing scoreline here.
That leaves the 38-point handicap line an appealing prospect, though with just a week to go before the first test, we’d be surprised if the Lions went hell for leather here and risked picking up some injuries, while the Sharks also were level five minutes into the second half before going down to 14-men.
The Stormers will want to ruffle some feathers and they’re likely to be the side more up for this even if they have little chance of taking the win, but we’ll back them to stay within 38-points of their visitors.
Duhan van der Merwe To Score A Hat-Trick
Duhan van der Merwe could have a field day here as the Scot is one of the most prolific try scorers in World Rugby at the moment. He’s scored eight in nine career starts for his country, while on this tour he’s already managed five in just three starts, scoring in each and managing a hat-trick in the opening game against the Sharks.
He’s certainly pushing for a starting spot in the opening test, so he’ll be determined to put on a show, and we’ll back him to get another hat-trick.