So here we are, the final match of the tour, and it’s all still to play for when South Africa clash with the Lions this Saturday.
Here we bring you our Springboks vs Lions preview, along with our top betting picks!
This series has had it all so far. We’ve seen off-field antics, contentious decisions in both matches, ferocious tackling, high-pressure penalties, and even the odd bit of free-flowing rugby breaking out.
Yes, it hasn’t been a series for the rugby purists, that’s for sure. But it’s the high-pressure stakes and the pure intensity of both fixtures that have made it compulsive viewing.
South Africa v British and Irish Lions
- Lions Tour of South Africa – South Africa v British and Irish Lions
- Venue – Cape Town Stadium, Fritz Sonnenberg Rd, Green Point, Cape Town, 8051, South Africa
- Date – Saturday, August 7, 2021
- Time – 7pm ET
|South Africa v British & Irish Lions Betting Odds|
|British & Irish Lions||+240||+240|
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The Story So Far
The series currently stands at 1-1, with just one match left to play.
In the 1st Test match, the Lions seemed to take advantage of South African rustiness.
The world champions had only played one match since the World Cup Final back in November 2019, and in fairness, it showed.
Leading 12-3 at half-time, South Africa was just overpowered in the 2nd period.
The Lions fought back with a converted Try just after the break. But almost immediately after that, the hosts consolidated their lead with a Try of their own, after 49 minutes.
After that, it was one-way traffic. The Lions kicked four unanswered penalties, as the Boks wilted away. The Lions eventually won the Test 22-17.
Surely it wasn’t going to be this easy for the Lions? Yep, it’s not.
Wounded Springboks Fight Back
At half-time in the 2nd Test, all was fine for the visitors. The Lions led 9-6, and there had been no major alarms.
In the TV studio before the match, ex-England world cup winning captain Martin Johnson remarked that South Africa doesn’t have a Plan B, they simply execute Plan A better. And in the 2nd half, that’s exactly what they did.
The Boks destroyed their visitors, running in 21 unanswered points for a 27-9 victory.
🇿🇦 Never count out a wounded Springbok
This series is going the distance ⚔️ #BoksvLions pic.twitter.com/fbUXAkYaFg
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) July 31, 2021
They were brutal in the tackle, and they executed their kicking game and set-piece to perfection.
The Lions simply had no answer to it, and if they don’t find one this Saturday, the same thing will happen again.
Playing the Springboks in their backyard usually means you need to play on their terms. And that’s what has happened.
South Africa matches are physical affairs. Tactical kicking and set-piece moves are their strengths, and that’s what they play too.
In the 1st Test, these tactics didn’t quite work for them. But in the 2nd Test, it all clicked into place.
So will it be more of the same on Saturday? Or can the Lions counter-attack? Let have a look at the betting odds.
3rd Test Betting Odds
After starting the 1st Test match neck-and-neck in the rugby betting, the hosts have now established themselves as the clear favorites.
Top Sportsbooks have the Springboks as -161.3 favorites to win the match and the series. A win for the British and Irish Lions is +240.
In rugby handicap betting, the Lions have a +3 advantage, which indicates a close game, as top betting sites only have one score between the two teams.
To win from -3, South Africa is +100. While to win from +3, the Lions are +110.
|South Africa v Lions Handicap Betting|
|South Africa -3||+100||-110|
|British & Irish Lions +3||+100||+110|
Teams for 3rd Test
As is usual in Rugby Union, both teams have already named their starting 15s and all the replacements.
The hosts have lost Faf de Klerk and Pieter-Steph du Toit to injury.
While the Lions have made five changes to their starting lineup, in what can only be seen as a bit of a gamble from coach Warren Gatland.
South Africa Team – Le Roux; Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Mapimpi; Pollard, Reinach; Kitshoff, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, De Jager, Kolisi (c), Mostert, Wiese
British and Irish Lions Team – Williams; Adams, Henshaw, Aki, Van der Merwe; Biggar, Price; Jones, Owens, Furlong, Itoje, A Wyn Jones (c), Lawes, Curry, Conan
South Africa v British and Irish Lions Betting Picks
It’s hard to see anything other than a win for South Africa on Saturday. At home, at odds of -161.3, that’s pretty good.
Is there better value to be had though? I believe there is.
With the handicap betting at -3, the odds of a win for South Africa increase dramatically to +100.
They won the 2nd Test by a margin of 18 points, and in the fixture they lost, they were only defeated by 5 points.
In short, if you want to place your wager on the hosts to win, I would take South Africa to win from a -3 start in the handicap betting.
If you are looking to bet on the Lions, it makes more sense to take them to win in the 80 minutes match betting market. This is better odds, and with just one score in the handicap market, chances are any Lions win will be greater than 3 points.
For my final pick, I’m looking at the over/under Tries market.
Tries have been hard come by in this series, so betting on a Try scorer doesn’t represent value. There is some value in the over/under Try betting though.
I’m going for under 3.5 Tries at -133.3. So far there has only been four Tries scored in both the fixtures combined. That was two in each Test match.
With another start-stop bruising encounter expected, there’s a good chance there won’t be many Tries in this match either!