After a surprise defeat last week the Lions host the Sunwolves in Round 5 of Super Rugby in Johannesburg on Saturday and when the teams met here last season the Lions rattled up the thick end on 100 points.
Lions v Sunwolves, Saturday 17th March, Johannesburg, KO 17:15 (South African time)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Stephen Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)
Weather Forecast – Johannesburg
The Lions began their season with 3 straight wins, covering minus handicaps at home to the Sharks (26-19) and Jaguares (47-27) and away to the Bulls (49-35). In Round 4 they came unstuck at home to the Blues (38-35), a game they will feel they should have won after leading 28-10 at one stage and they were 34-23 up well inside the last 10 minutes. Despite the late surrender last week the Lions remain top of the South African Conference and they finished Round 4 with a 7 point lead over the Sharks who have played 1 game fewer.
The Lions now take aim at the Sunwolves who shipped 14 tries in the most one sided of games at this venue last season.
The Sunwolves arrived in South Africa last week and their first tour match saw them go down 50-22 at the Sharks. They failed to stay within the handicap set in the early 20’s but they did run in 3 tries. The Sunwolves had started their season with home defeats to the Brumbies (32-25) and the Rebels (37-17). The losing bonus point against the Brumbies is their only log point earned so far and they have lost all 10 of their previous visits to South Africa by an average margin of 53-19. That average is swelled by last season’s result in Johannesburg and they also conceded more than 90 points against the Cheetahs in Bloem in 2016.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Franco Mostert (captain), 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Shaun Reynolds
Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Lomano Lemeki, 13 William Tupou, 12 Michael Little, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Wimpie van der Walt, 4 Kazuki Himeno, 3 Koo Ji-won, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Craig Millar
Substitutes: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Shintaro Ishihara, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Willie Britz, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Ryoto Nakamura, 23 Ryuji Noguchi
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2017 Johannesburg Lions 94-7 Sunwolves (Tries 14-1)
2016 Tokyo Sunwolves 13-26 Lions (Tries 1-4)
Lions -33.5 points at 9/10 Sunbet, Playabets, Sportingbet
Sunwolves +35.5 points at 9/10 Hollywood
Note, odds quoted are correct at the time of last update but are subject to change.
I won’t be getting too involved here but I do expect the Lions to coming out firing after the late collapse saw them slip to a rare defeat last week. Given they have named a strong starting line up, the half time handicap appeals more than it’s full time counterpart.
Bet. 2 units half time handicap, Lions -16.5 points 17/20 Sunbet
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