By News Team
16th July 2021
The British and Irish Lions suffered their first defeat on the 2021 tour of South Africa in their last outing, against what has to be said was a very strong South Africa ‘A’ team featuring numerous World Cup winners.
Their final warm-up fixture sees them take on the DHL Stormers as players have one last chance to stake their claim for a Test jersey.
We preview the game below and take a look at the latest odds.
Last chance for a bolter?
The Lions team is slowly taking shape in the minds of fans, and many will expect some of these combinations to start next Saturday. However, we always see a bolter come from nowhere to make the Test team, and there’s no reason why that couldn’t be Scottish centre Chris Harris here.
While Elliot Daly starts at 13 here, it seems Harris could be the man to dislodge him after a couple of exemplary performances. The same could also be said for the wing spots, although Josh Adams has done his very best with eight tour tries so far. Opposite from him is South-African born Scot Duhan van der Merwe, who’s also impressed with his physical play, and has one last chance to stake a claim for that Test jersey.
Elsewhere, look for big performances from Hamish Watson in the number seven jersey as he looks to wrestle it away from Tom Curry, while Marcus Smith, who has enjoyed a four-week period which includes his first Premiership win, England debut and Lions call-up, starts at 10.
It should be an exciting Lions side, and they are just 1/9 to score the first try.
Stormers to spring a surprise?
It’s a weakened Stormers team, with many of the nation’s best players in the wider Springboks training camp, but that doesn’t mean they are completely bereft of talent.
Premiership fans will recognise former Wasps centre Juan de Jongh in the 23, while outside backs Seabelo Senatla and Sergeal Petersen are genuine threats from anywhere on the pitch if given a bit of space.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Stormers start strongly, and a first half handicap at +18 looks achievable at 10/11.
Lions depth to excel
While the first half could be close, the Lions depth should comfortably see them through.
Every member of that squad is a Test titan in their own right, and against a weakened Stormers team, they should pull away comfortably in the second half.
The handicap sits at 38, but this Lions team should be aiming for a 50-margin win, with an alternative handicap of -43 available at 6/4.