Bongi Mbonambi to score a try – 11/2
Luke Cowan-Dickiet to score a try – 9/2
Prepare for the mother of all battles in the Mother City on Saturday when the British & Irish Lions tackle South Africa in Cape Town once again.
The world champion Springboks should strip fitter and even harder for last weekend’s 22-17 series-opening defeat at Green Point when they understandably appeared to run out of gas after leading 12-3 at half-time.
Even more than the hurt pride at letting such a lead slip, the Boks will be fired up by a somewhat justifiable perception that they were hard done by with the first Test officiating.
Two SA tries were ruled out by a South African TMO in Marius Joncker while two potential card-warranting offences by Lions flankers Tom Curry and Hamish Watson were also deemed just penalties.
South Africa should improve but recent results suggest they are always more vulnerable away from their Johannesburg and Pretoria fortresses. The Lions’ dead-rubber 2009 third-Test triumph in Jo’burg is the only defeat the Springboks have suffered on the highveld to a side other than the All Blacks in 20 years.
In the same time period there have been six losses involving England, France, Ireland, Australia and Argentina at sea level, as well as two draws.
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The rolling maul after a close-range lineout is likely to be a weapon of choice for both the Lions and Springboks, especially if the game is as cagey as expected. This makes anytime try scorer wagers on both starting hookers Bongi Mbonambi and Luke Cowan-Dickie an appealing play.
Six of Mbonambi’s seven Test tries have come when he has worn the number two shirt and his ball-carrying yards edged him in front of Malcolm Marx in the selectors’ eyes after the Boks’ 2019 World Cup pool-opening defeat to New Zealand.
Cowan-Dickie crossed for the Lions’ try last week at the back of post-lineout maul and, although there were some early throwing woes, Gatland has entrusted him to be the ferocious ball-carrying menace near the whitewash that has reaped regular rewards for Exeter.