WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview and an ante-post each-way selection for the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday 25th September.
|No Try Scorers||20/1||Tryscorer
South Africa v British & Irish Lions
Date of Tips: 28/07/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (08:50 28/07/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
South Africa v British and Irish Lions Second Test
After last week’s monumental battle of attrition which saw the Lions win the first test by 22-17, the anticipation has been building nicely over the last few days. A wounded Springbok side is often at its most dangerous. No strangers to adversity or criticism, South Africa know how to pack a punch and raise the physicality when their backs are against the wall. The level of brutality expected from the home side this Saturday may be the most bruising encounter we have seen since the second test 12 years ago. In that match, several Lions players including the likes of Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones and Jamie Roberts left the field injured after clashes with the formidable Springbok pack of 2009.
A fairly even contest at scrum time despite the Cape Town pitch cutting up and being a particularly slippery surface for the front rows, will be crucial again. Both teams need a solid set-piece to provide a platform for the inevitable kick and chase game; the respective backlines will no doubt adopt again this time around. The aerial battle was not as fierce as we had expected last week but it will be a different story on this occasion as South Africa will revert to type and bombard the Lions at every opportunity. Bet365 has the home side to win the second test at 11/10, a draw between the two sets of gladiators at 20/1, and the tourists to be victorious, priced at 5/6.
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THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
Before last week’s defeat to Lions, the Springboks had won all of their previous five games but only the match against Georgia has been played recently. That victory is the only time that South Africa has played an international since the Rugby World Cup in Japan back in 2019, although most of their starting line-up featured against the B. I Lions for South Africa ‘A’ just 10 days before the first test in Cape Town.
The Lion’s only slip-up was the fixture against South Africa ‘A’ which was deemed the unofficial fourth test match by the media due to the strength selected by Rassie Erasmus. Before that, the tourists had been blowing away all the provincial sides with marginal resistance from the local South African teams. Their five tour matches up until last week’s first test far have ended like this;
In terms of the most recent test matches head-to-head, the last two tours have both finished 2-1 in the test series. In 1997, The Lions won the first two before the Springboks were victorious in the third and final test. Most recently in 2009, it was South Africa who completed a series victory, also with a 2-1 scoreline in the 3-test series. The Springboks built up an unassailable 2-0 lead by winning the first two tests matches before The Lions went home with a victory in the third and final test.
The Lions have the quality and the belief and despite their momentum after last week’s win, you should put your money on a Springbok victory on this occasion. It will be another close encounter where errors and lack of discipline will be punished by the boot and maybe a counter-attacking try which was threatened in the first match. The Lions by 1-5 points is 9/2 with PaddyPower and the Springboks by the same scoreline is also 9/2 with Skybet. There will be nothing between them again and if South Africa can fix their second-half collapse and build a 60 or 80 minute performance rather than just a 40 like the first test, the home side should edge it, just.
Discipline and goal-kicking could be crucial on the day so whoever can keep the penalty count down will gain a massive advantage. You can have a flutter on the match being decided with the boot alone and there being no tries at all with Boylesports at 20/1. Given the solo try last week and both coaches looking to tighten up areas of concern upon review, this might be a great option to take a punt on.
You can back last week’s man of the match Maro Itoje to be the first try-scorer with Boylesports at 40-1 and for any last-minute drama, Luke Cowan-Dickie who got the only try last week is priced at 14-1 by Boylesports to score the final try of the game.