The Lions bid to secure top spot in the South African Conference when they take on the Bulls in Round 19 of Super Rugby in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Lions v Bulls, Saturday 14th July, Johannesburg, KO 15:05 (South African time)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs, Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Christie du Preez
The Lions were on a bye in Round 18 but it still proved to be a good week. Defeat for Jaguares away at the Bulls saw the Lions remain top of the SA Conference, 3 points clear of the Argentine side and any sort of win here will secure pole position and home advantage for at least the first knockout round.
The Lions won their first 4 SA derby matches of the season including a 49-35 victory over the Bulls at Loftus back in Round 3. However their most recent outing saw them overhauled by the Sharks who put in a powerful second half performance to come out on top 31-24 in Durban in Round 17.
You have to go back to Round 3 of the 2015 campaign for the last time the Lions lost to South African opposition in Johannesburg and the Lions haven’t lost to the Bulls at this venue since 2012.
The Bulls did the Lions a huge favour last week. The 43-34 victory over Jaguares wasn’t enough to lift them off the bottom of the SA Conference and they remain below the Stormers on points difference with a record of 6 wins and 9 defeats.
The Bulls have won just once on the road this season, a sparkling performance which saw them thrash the Sharks 40-10 in Durban back in Round 9. One other derby away fixture saw them lose 29-17 to the Stormers in Cape Town in Round 12.
Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Subs: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Johannes Jonker, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman/Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Ross Cronjé, 22 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 23 Howard Mnisi/Shaun Reynolds.
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman (captain), 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Mornay Smit, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Nick de Jager, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Boeta Hamman, 23 Divan Rossouw
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2018 Pretoria Bulls 35-49 Lions (Tries 4-7)
2017 Johannesburg Lions 51–14 Bulls (Tries 7-2 )
2016 Pretoria Bulls 20-56 Lions (Tries 3-7)
2015 Pretoria Bulls 35–33 Lions (Tries 4-3 )
2015 Johannesburg Lions 22–18 Bulls (Tries 1-0 )
2014 Johannesburg Lions 32–21 Bulls (Tries 2-2 )
2014 Pretoria Bulls 25–17 Lions (Tries 1-2 )
2012 Pretoria Bulls 37–20 Lions (Tries 4-2 )
2012 Johannesburg Lions 18–32 Bulls (Tries 2-5 )
Lions -10.5 points 9/10 widely available
Bulls +12.5 points 9/10 Hollywood
Note, odds quoted are an average of what was available at the time of last update but are subject to change.
There will be no favours from the Bulls this week but whether the visitors can potentially jeopardise the Lions position at the top of the SA Conference is another matter. It’s also worth bearing in mind the Lions don’t have to cover this handicap line to achieve their objectives as any sort of win will do.
I reckon the Bulls will come to play so the total and team points lines will be of interest but as far as the cap is concerned I will go with the Lions, mainly down to the Bulls poor away record and the carrot the Lions are chasing to strengthen their hand in the play offs
Bet: 5 units Lions -10.5 points 9/10 widely available
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