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Nic Ladds 3rd Jul 2009 - 7:11

Tuned up Flutey can help restore Lions' pride

Although it is only pride the Lions play for in this third and final Test, they will be keener than ever to record a victory and are priced at odds of 2/1 to do so with South Africa 4/11 to complete the white wash.

There will be few who would begrudge the Lions a victory after they came so desperately close last time with only a last minute penalty given away by Ronan O'Gara (who doesn't make the squad) separating the two teams.

This suggest that the Lions could make a mockery of the handicap line where they receive a 7 points head start at odds of 10/11 while South Africa are also 10/11 giving the 7 points.

All the debate surrounding Schalk Burger's horrendous gouge only added to the what might have been scenario for the Lions. Burger obviously is banned now and he is one of 10 changes to the Springbok line up, with the Lions making their fair share, mainly due to injury.

The line ups are as follows:

South Africa:15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Wynand Oliver, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Johann Muller, 3 John Smit (c), 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Lions: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Ugo Monye, 13 Tommy Bowe, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 Paul O'Connell (c), 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Phil Vickery, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Andrew Sheridan.

Riki Flutey immediately takes the eye as a possible try scorer at odds of 5/2 as he partners Tommy Bowe who moves in from wing to centre with Ugo Monye getting another chance on the wing along side Shane Williams, (both wingers are 10/1 to cross the line first).

Fortunately for the Lions their two stars from the last game Simon Shaw and Rob Kearney are fit enough to play and these two will make a huge impact if playing anywhere near to how they did last week.

Kearney scored the first try last time and is 16/1 to do so again or 11/4 to score a try anytime.

It is almost an unrecognizable South African team lining up but this does not mean it is hugely weaker with the excellent Fourie du Preez keeping his place at scrum half, while Morne Steyn starts at fly half after his excellent substitute appearance and the same applies to Jaque Fourie.

Fourie in particular could be a big danger and is priced at 15/8 to score anytime while wingers Odwa Ndungane and Jongi Nokwe who are both 10/1 to score first need to be at their best to fill the shoes of Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen on the flanks.

The last two games have been decided by five and three point margins respectively which could have punters steaming into the home side winning by 1-5 points at odds of 5/1while a Lions victory by the same margin would pay at 6/1.

An interesting bet could be South Africa to score the last try at odds of 8/13 while the Lions are 6/5 in this market.

The reason being is the Springbok's bench looks extremely strong with the likes of Fran Steyn, Ruan Pienaar and Pierre Spies to call on, their cavalry looks superior to that of the Lions.

The dozen winning margins market once again looks interesting as we cover a bigger range of possible correct scores in what looks another closely matched game.

South Africa to win by 1-12 points is 2/1 while the same margin in favor of the Lions is 15/4, both of which are appealing prices.

After the awful, unsporting comments by South African coach Peter de Villiers the whole of Britain, and most probably the rest of the world will be willing the Lions on to get a victory.

Condoning the actions of Burger as nothing more than a minor incident which happens in rugby is disgraceful and the whole team will be totally fired up to put de Villiers in his place and capture some pride for the likes of the injured Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Roberts along with the heroic props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones who put the Springbok front row in their place last time out.

Although Vickery returns having got a mauling in the first Test by Mtawarira he will hopefully have learnt from his mistakes and be able to handle 'The Beast' better.

If the Lions can compete and win up front again then as we saw last time then South Africa can be ruffled and without a host of their first team players it will be interesting to see whether they have the same resilience and ability to come back when the chips are down.

At the prices we are this time going for Lions victory to restore some pride. The 2/1 about a Lions win looks fair and a wager on Riki Flutey to make his mark at odds of 5/2 to score a try looks a fair wager.

This tour has seen some classic matches and it will ultimately end in defeat for the Lions, they have won a lot of friends over here and silenced a lot of the critics who said the Lions tour was becoming a pointless exercise, while South Africa, with the tri-nations looking have learnt perfectly how to rub everyone up the wrong way.

Recommendation:

Lions - 2/1

Riki Flutey to score anytime - 5/2

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