Super Rugby 2018 Semi-Finals: Lions v Waratahs Preview

Rugby Player scores try

The Lions will be desperate for another shot at a first-ever Super Rugby title when they host the Waratahs at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday afternoon, writes Shaun Goosen. 

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Lions v Waratahs
28 July 2018
Emirates Airline Park

To Win (80 Mins)
Lions 1/4
Draw 25/1
Waratahs 28/10

Lions (-10.5) 9/10
Waratahs (+10.5) 9/10

Having fallen foul in the last two consecutive Grand Finals, Swys de Bruin’s men will be more charged up than ever to banish their demons of 2016 and 2017 and go all the way this time around.

Standing in their way from a place in the decider are Daryl Gibson’s Waratahs. While they may have had a relatively by-the-numbers season thus far (won nine, drawn one, lost six), the 'Tahs proved in last week’s thrilling comeback win over the Highlanders that they have the talent necessary to cause an upset on their day.

In fighting back from 23-6 down, they underlined their innate ability to turn a game around via their Wallaby-laden backline, with the likes of Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley standing tall when it mattered most.

On the other hand, Waisake Naholo’s time in the sin bin did allow the Australians to score as many as three tries in his absence, and question marks remain as to whether they would have fought back had it not been for the winger’s misjudged hit on Sekope Kepu.

In the Lions quarterfinal against the impressive Jaguares, Malcolm Marx and Elton Jantjies produced superb individual performances to guide their team to victory. If both men fire on Saturday afternoon, the Waratahs will struggle to keep up with the Pride of Jozi on the scoreboard.

The match will be won and lost at the breakdown, with the expected continued absence of 'Tahs regular-skipper Michael Hooper sure to play a big role. If the men in blue cannot find a way to nullify Marx at the tackle point it will be a long afternoon for them.

Verdict: Lions (-10.5) 9/10 
With sunny skies expected, the Lions should punish a jet-lagged 'Tahs outfit to lay the platform for what would be an unprecedented third-consecutive finals appearance by a score of 10 or more.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets

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