|Lions v Kings: Saturday 3.00am (AEST)
at Ellis Park, Johannesburg
|Best Bet: Lions -36.5 ($1.90)
Value Bet: Lions by 46+ ($2.70)
With first place in the Super Rugby standings at the end of the regular season within their grasp, the Lions are set to wipe the floor with the embattled Kings.
The Lions are unchanged from last week, with Ruan Ackermann impressing in the absence of injured No.8 and captain Warren Whiteley. The Kings have made six changes to last week’s side, with three players set to debut. Sti Sithole and Jacobie Adriaanse return to bolster the pack, but the injury absence of lock and captain Steven Sykes is a blow. Malcom Jaer replaces fullback mainstay Jurgen Visser.
The 10-3 Lions have surged to the top of the Super Rugby standings on the back of four straight wins, racking up 37 points or more against the Blues, Jaguares, Bulls and Sharks. The Lions have scored more points than any other side in the competition and are ranked eighth in defence.
The Kings have a 2-11 record, following up their home upset of the Jaguares with a 48-18 loss to an under-strength Highlanders outfit. The Kings are the worst team in the competition in attack and defence.
Kings No.10 Louis Fouche will have his hands full up against brilliant Springboks flyhalf Elton Jantjies.
Stats That Matter
The Lions are 10-3 against the start in 2016, while the Kings are 5-8 ATS this year. The Lions are 9-5 at home – overall and against the start – since the start of last year. The Kings are 1-11-1 on the road in their Super Rugby history. Home sides are 65-48-3 this season (62-55 against the start). Home favourites are 58-20 overall and 45-33 ATS in 2016.
The Kings concede a mountain of points against good teams as a matter of course, and the Lions are the competition’s top point-scorers – a massive victory looms as the only possible outcome at Ellis Park. More line-up changes won’t help the Kings’ hopeless cause, while the Lions will be concentrating on wrapping up a bonus point and consolidating their position. It’s a hefty points start, but one the adventurous Lions should have little trouble motoring past.
The Way It’s Shaping
Lions by 48
Lions -36.5 ($1.90)
Lions by 46+ ($2.70)