Super Rugby: Bulls v Lions Preview

Super Rugby  - players engage in a scrum

Saturday the 15th of June will see one of the most crucial trans-Jukskei derbies in recent memory with the Bulls and Lions squaring off in what is likely to be a straight shootout for a play-off berth.

Pote Human’s Bulls and Swys de Bruin’s Lions will go toe-to-toe at Loftus on Saturday in what is likely to be an absolute classic South African derby. Both sides have played some attractive rugby on the Highveld this season and we could well be in for a high scorer here despite both sides likely to only need a win to advance to the next phase of the tournament.

Bulls v Lions
Saturday 15 June 
Loftus Versfeld

To Win (80 Mins)
Bulls 8/10
Draw 22/1
Lions 11/10

Bulls (-1.5) 9/10
Lions (+1.5) 9/10

*Forecast Handicap

The draw kings themselves return to the confines of Loftus after a magnificent tour of Australasia that saw them only suffer one defeat; a 22-10 loss to the Brumbies. Their other two results saw them beat the Rebels and register back-to-back draws with the Blues and Highlanders Their solid tour has left them in a commanding position to claim a play-off berth as they sit fifth on the Overall Conference Standings.

While the tour was successful in terms of log points garnered it did come at a cost for the Bulls with inspirational Springbok hooker Schalk Britz suffering a concussion against the Highlanders that is likely to rule him out of the clash. He's likely to be joined on the sidelines by workaholic loose forward Marco van Staaden who also sustained a concussion against the Highlanders.

There is good news for the bulls, however, with Britz’ fellow offseason signing Duane Vermeulen set to return to the field this weekend, while there’s a 50/40 chance that centre Burger Ordendall will recover from a leg injury in time for the clash with the Lions.

The Lions will head to Loftus determined to bounce back from their heavy defeat to the Hurricanes. Joburg’s pride had a second-half to forget last Saturday as they shipped a number of tries to eventually go down 17-37 to the Hurricanes. What makes the defeat even more disappointing for last season's runners-up is that they were level on points (10-10) with their New Zealand counterparts at half-time.

It’s no surprise that the Lions struggled in the second stanza given they had lost inspirational stand-in skipper Kwagga Smith to an injury 10 minutes prior to the half-time whistle. The former Blitzbok is unlikely to take to Loftus this weekend, which is bad news for the Lions who are already missing regular skipper Warren Whitely to injury.

With both Whitely and Smith out it would make sense for Swys de Bruin to bring back Elton Janjties in the starting ten role. While his understudy, Shaun Reynolds, has played well over the past fortnight one can’t help but fell the added experience that Janjties will bring to the fold will be crucial this Saturday.

Verdict: Bulls (-1.5) 9/10 
While both teams are missing a plethora of players through injury, I suspect it will be the young Lions who struggle at Loftus this weekend.
Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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