Cell C Sharks v Lions betting tips: Visitors face depleted hosts
Preview and odds for Wednesday’s match
The British and Irish Lions play their second match of the Tour since arriving in South Africa and we have scoured the odds to highlight some Cell C Sharks v Lions betting tips.
After defeating Japan at Murrayfield, Warren Gatland’s Lions recorded a first win on South African soil when they crushed the Sigma Lions 56-14 on Saturday.
Wednesday’s match at the Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg is on Sky Sports and kicks off at 7pm BST.
Cell C Sharks v British and Irish Lions odds
After winning their opening match and barely getting out of second gear, the Lions should be full of confidence and are 1/33 to extend their winning streak.
England flanker Tom Curry will make his first appearance for the British and Irish Lions, while Ireland’s Iain Henderson will captain the side in the absence of Tour skipper Conor Murray who reverts to the bench.
Gatland is not keen to show his hand too early ahead of the first Test against the Springboks on July 24, so there will be debuts for lock Adam Beard and back row Josh Navidi, after they were called up as replacements for injured Justin Tipuric and captain Alun Wyn Jones.
Sam Simmonds will also make his first start in three years. Simmonds was one of the shock inclusions in Gatland’s Lions squad, especially since the number eight had been frozen out by England coach Eddie Jones.
He last played Test rugby back in March 2018, despite being named European Player of the Year last season and winning the Premiership award this season after scoring a record 21 tries.
He completes the back-row, while Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg is covering fly-half, just as he did against the Combined Country on the 2013 tour of Australia.
Zander Fagerson, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Gareth Davies will also make their debuts, while Elliot Daly, who has not played at centre for England since 2016, starts at 13.
The back-three is made up of Liam Williams at full-back, Anthony Watson on the right wing, and Duhan van der Merwe on the left, while Bundee Aki partners Daly in midfield.
With the Lions’ clash against the Vodacom Bulls this weekend reportedly in ‘severe doubt’ after several members of the provincial side tested positive for Covid-19, the stakes for those playing against the Cell C Sharks will be high, as there may be fewer chances to impress Gatland ahead of the Test series.
“It’s a quick turnaround from Saturday, but we’ll be ready to go by Wednesday night,” said Gatland.
“I’m pleased we managed to come through the weekend’s game unscathed, and the boys have rested and recovered well. We feel like we’re slowly building, but, as ever, there’s still room for improvement in all facets of our game.
“Wednesday night is another chance for us to have a look at a few more combinations. I’m looking forward to seeing how the back row goes; it’s an exciting mixture and one that we hope will offer something a bit different.
“We expect another physical test against a side who are known for their power play and ambition.”
Sharks missing Springboks skipper
The Lions will face a depleted Sharks team, as several of their players – including South Africa captain Siya Kolisi – are preparing for the Springboks’ fixture against Georgia on Friday.
Gatland added that he was “not trying to think too much” about his Test side, but admitted “some good performances” in victories against Japan and the Sigma Lions had already made his job “tough”.
The British and Irish Lions easily overcame a 23-point handicap against the Sigma Lions and they are Evens to prevail conceding a 24-point start, with the Cell C Sharks also Evens with a 24-point advantage. The handicap tie is 33/1.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication