Couch Critic previews Saturday's first test between South Africa and the B&I Lions including best bets and tryscorer specials with @Olimp_SA
BRITSH AND IRISH LIONS – 1st Test, 24 July @ 18:00 (Cape Town)
The first Test is finally upon us. Many would have feared and even speculated that this tour would never even reach the tests but here we go! Cape Town will be the venue for all three of these titanic tussles between the best that the UK can muster and the World Champion Springboks but it’s the first test that will set the table for what is sure to be a fine-dining experience for the rugby connoisseur.
In the lead up to this series I was solid in my beliefs that the Boks were going to get caught cold. Rassie and Nienaber (or NieRasmus as I like to call them) had their squad primed for the big occasion in Japan. The T’s were crossed and the I’s were dotted – body fat percentages were lower than South Africa’s inflation rate and PB’s in the gym came as frequently as Peanut butter and Jam sandwiches in my home during Lockdown. This time around the coaching staff had little prep time with the players and the squad had bugger all game time to prepare. And to be fair even though the Green and Gold lifted the Webb Ellis they were still only really impressive in the final.
So I was lining up a big fat punt on the tourists. Gatland is a shrewd operator and he had the cream of the crop to call on. Yet things haven’t quite shaped up as expected for the men in red as I think they would have hoped. Lack of game time due to COVID issues, a dip in form of others and some strange selections has me reconsidering my initial opinion. Whilst the side picked on paper is still stocked with wickedly talented individuals it feels to me that as a team and concerning crucial combinations, they will be coming into this one like Stevie Wonder – blind and handicapped.
I see the British and Irish Lions starting the game the stronger of the two teams but the home side will settle into their work and eventually wrestle out a narrow victory on the back of yet another potent Bomb-squad effort. In the exotics I’m putting my money where my mouth is with the faster start by the visitors led by a backline try (the value with Daily) and then backing Kwagga to have a monster of a game to try and prove the doubters wrong. Of course, I’ll top it off with the hooker getting his meat pie late in the second half.
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(Note, all odds quoted are subject to change)