Kick-off: 1900, 14/07/2021
Stadium: Cape Town Stadium
TV: Sky Sports
The British and Irish Lions face their toughest test of the tour so far when they collide with South Africa A on Wednesday.
The hosts have named a strong team and elevated the Cape Town clash into an unofficial fourth Test.
We still think the tourists will have enough to come out on top, though, and a third straight win since leaving British soil at 4/6 is our opening South Africa A vs Lions prediction.
A Look At South Africa A’s Betting Odds
The Springboks have picked seven starters from the XV that crushed England in the 2019 World Cup final, including world player of the year Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Faf De Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe.
Following a severe outbreak of coronavirus that has produced 26 positive tests, South Africa were forced to cancel last Friday’s second Test against Georgia and now need to give inactive players some game time, with the series against the Lions just 11 days away.
It has shaped their selection of a team containing 522 caps and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is hoping to organise another outing for the weekend – ideally against the tourists rather than an underpowered provincial franchise, although Lions coach Warren Gatland has dismissed that idea.
Preparations are clearly far from ideal and, looking at the South Africa A vs Lions odds, we like 7/4 for the tourists to win by 1-12 points.
A Look At British and Irish Lions’ Betting Odds
Gatland is delighted at the strength of the South African side that the Lions will be up against knowing they will provide a genuine gauge of the Lions’ progress.
The tourists have amassed a total of 181 points across three collisions with weak provincial opposition but will have to work much harder at Cape Town Stadium.
“They’ve gone as strong as they possibly can given that they still have some players unavailable. It’s going to be a good test for us,” Gatland said.
“I probably wasn’t expecting them to be as strong as they are. They’re obviously short of games. They feel like they’re underdone and they’ll need a hit out or two.
“It helps our preparation immensely. We’ll get a bit of a feel of where we are and what things we need to work on in the 10 days leading into the first Test.”
Conor Murray is reunited with Dan Biggar at half-back for his first start since being named Alun Wyn Jones’ replacement as captain.
There are only three survivors from the XV that overwhelmed the Sharks on Saturday with Biggar, Anthony Watson and Chris Harris retaining their places.
Biggar is the only recognised fly-half in the squad as Finn Russell and Owen Farrell are nursing respective Achilles and rib injuries.
Try-scoring machine Josh Adams will start on the wing and is clearly the biggest threat for the Lions. He was the top try-scorer at the 2019 World Cup and has been in incredible form on this tour, scoring eight tries in three appearances.
Adams is 7/1 to score the first try of the match and that looks a solid pick as our final South Africa A vs Lions prediction.
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