Lions v Sharks
Saturday 10:30pm at Ellis Park
The Sharks weren’t able to upset the table-topping Lions last weekend. They now travel to Johannesburg looking to turn the tables on the minor premiers.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann has decided to stick with a winning formula, naming the same team that defeated the Sharks last week. Winger Ruan Combrinck will reach the milestone of 50 Super Rugby caps when he runs onto Ellis Park.
Interestingly, the Sharks have made just one change to the starting lineup, with Curwin Bosch being recalled to start at flyhalf with Garth April taking his place on the bench. Coach, Robert Du Preez backed his side during the week, “This is finals rugby and whatever has transpired previously is irrelevant in this match. It’s going to come down to our execution, discipline, but most of all it is about who wants it the most.”
Last time they met
15th July 2017: Lions 27 Sharks 10
Stats that matter
The Sharks have scored just 12 points in their last three Finals fixtures away from home, including a tally of zero when they travelled to Wellington in last season’s quarter-finals.
Elton Janties vs Curwin Bosch: Janties has been a star for the Lions in the past two seasons and is now the top point scorer in the entire competition. He holds the key for the Lions chances of taking out the title. Youngster Curwin Bosch has also proven to be a match winner this season and the Sharks missed his presence last week. His monster boot will be crucial to the Durban based side on Saturday night.
The Lions have only lost one game this season, sitting on 14 wins. Their recent form has been formidable, notching up 226 points in their last 4 matches. They have also won their last 17 matches at Ellis Park. The Sharks have managed 9 wins this season but are coming off back to back losses at home to the Lions and Bulls.
How it’s shaping up
The Sharks looked good in patches last week but weren’t able to keep the pressure on the Lions for the full 80 minutes. The Lions would have taken a big confidence boost out of the win last week and will be relentless at home. Anything can happen in finals footy, but the Wolf predicts be a big win for the Lions in Jo’burg.
Lions by 19
Best bet: Lions -14.5 ($1.90)
Value Be: Lions by 16-20 ($5.00)
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