The Lions host the Highlanders in Round 14 of Super Rugby in Johannesburg on Saturday and the early betting market confidence has been with the visitors.
Lions v Highlanders, Saturday 18th May, Johannesburg, KO 15:05 (South African time)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Refs: Jaco Peyper, Griffin Colby
TMO: Willie Vos
Weather Forecast – Johannesburg
The Lions gave their play off hopes a boost when they edged out the Waratahs 29-28 in a home fixture last weekend. They were returning from a bye in that game having being on tour where they managed 1 win from 3 matches. The success came away at the Chiefs (23-17) either side of a loss to the Brumbies (31-20) in Canberra and the Crusaders (36-10) in Christchurch.
The Lions have won 3 and lost 2 of their home fixtures and the wins came against opposition from overseas. They launched a stunning comeback to beat the Rebels 36-33 in Joburg and also beat Jagaures 47-39 at this venue whilst the defeats were of the heavy variety in local derby matches with the Bulls (30-12) and the Sharks (42-5).
The Lions come into Round 14 with a record of 6 wins and 5 defeats, fourth in the ultra tight SA Conference, only 3 points off the top and just 2 points off the bottom. The Lions run in looks tough with this game followed by a trip to the Sharks, home games against the Stormers and the Hurricanes and a visit to the Bulls.
The Highlanders are in SA for this match followed by a trip to Cape Town to take on the Stormers. They held off Jaguares for a 32-27 home win last week and they are unbeaten in their last 4 outings with 3 wins and a draw at home to the Chiefs. Their overall record now comprises of 5 wins, 2 draws and 5 defeats, third best in New Zealand, 11 points behind the second placed Hurricanes and 6 clear of the fourth placed Chiefs.
The Highlanders have won 2 of their 6 away fixtures with the victories coming at the Chiefs (30-27) in Round 1 and more recently the Sunwolves (52-0) in Round 11. They have lost 2 New Zealand derby matches on their travels and 1 visit to Australia saw a much changed side go down 24-19 to the Rebels in Round 3.
The Highlanders have made 8 previous visits to the Lions, losing 6 and winning 2 (1999 and 2005). Their last trip to Joburg came in the 2016 semi final when the Lions came out on top 42-30.
In their 2018 tour the Highlanders edged out the Bulls (29-28) at Loftus but were well beaten by the Sharks (38-12) in Durban.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (captain), 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Vincent Tshituka, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Shaun Reynolds, 23 Tyrone Green
Highlanders: 15 Matt Faddes, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Sio Tomkinson, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Shannon Frizell, 7 Luke Whitelock (captain), 6 Dillon Hunt, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 James Lentjes, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Dan Hollinshead, 23 Waisake Naholo
Watch out for our weekly rugby betting show “The Handicap” which is streamed live on our youtube channel every Thursday night at 21:00
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2018 Dunedin Highlanders 39-27 Lions (Tries 5-4)
2016 Johannesburg Lions 42–30 Highlanders (Tries 5-4 ) (semi final)
2016 Dunedin Highlanders 34-15 Lions (Tries 4-2)
2015 Johannesburg Lions 28–23 Highlanders (Tries 3-2 )
2014 Dunedin Highlanders 23–22 Lions (Tries 3-4 )
2011 Dunedin Highlanders 22–26 Lions (Tries 1-2 )
2010 Dunedin Highlanders 39–29 Lions (Tries 3-5 )
2009 Johannesburg Lions 27–22 Highlanders (Tries 4-3 )
Lions 9/10 WSB, GG Gaming, Sportingbet, Hollywood
Draw 28/1 WSB, Sunbet
Highlanders even money WSB, GG Gaming, BetOlimp
Note, odds quoted are available at the time of writing but are subject to change.
I believe that when the first markets from GG Gaming came out on Sunday there was some +3.5 about the Highlanders and some members of our discussion forum latched on to the visitors.
At the time of writing it’s shaping up into a “choice game” and whilst team news could see a further swing, I’m inclined to go with sentiment that the Highlanders will win here.
The Lions have been fortunate in 2 of their 3 home wins, against the Rebels and the Tahs. I take the view the Highlanders will offer a sterner test than those 2 sides so unless the Lions can raise their game significantly they could struggle here.
Bet: 2.5 units, Highlanders to win at even money, WSB, GG Gaming, BetOlimp
(Unit Scale 1 to 5)
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