The good news is the British & Irish Lions will play the Sharks at Emirates Airline Park on Wednesday evening. The bad news for South Africans is that a Sharks team, without their current Test Springboks, will take a beating, writes Mark Keohane.
The Moneyman, British & Irish Lions legend Scott Gibbs and myself unpacked the Lions starting XV for their second tour match, chatted about the significance of the line-ups and we all agreed on one thing … the Lions will win by 35 points.
It’s a conservative estimate because Gibbs believes that the match could lose intensity and shape once the substitutes bench comes into play, and he expects that to happen early in the second half.
South Africans will get a first taste of Duhan van der Merwe, who plays for the Lions for the second time and in South Africa for the first time since moving overseas five years ago.
Van der Merwe made his Test debut for Scotland in the past 12 months and was impressive on debut for the Lions against Japan.
Gibbs didn’t see too many of Wednesday evening’s starting line-up being the Test starters, and was surprised that Welsh flyhalf Dan Biggar was given a second start in three matches, as he feels Biggar will be the Test starting flyhalf and perhaps needs to be managed more cautiously in the build-up to the Test series.
The Lions traditionally have thrashed the Sharks, but the matches have always been entertaining and he feels the Sharks will want to contribute to the occasion with an expansion approach.
He said the match was a wonderful opportunity for local players to experience the quality of some of the best Test players in the northern hemisphere, but he accepted the probability of a mismatch, given how many of the Sharks first-choice regulars are in the Springboks camp and unavailable for the match.
Watch Scott Gibbs, myself and the Moneyman talks Lions and Sharks
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