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Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Focused Lions look likely to maul Blues at Ellis Park

Nikosi can bite twice for Sharks against Sunwolves

Israel Folau bagged nine tries for the Waratahs last season
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Los Jaguars v Waratahs
Sky Sports Mix, 9.40pm Saturday

Israel Folau was shut out by the Sharks in Durban last week but the Waratahs will be buzzing at nabbing a draw and he looks a great price at 13-10 to get on the scoresheet in Buenos Aires. 

Los Jaguares surely cannot be as bad again in front of their fans as they were against the Hurricanes last week but they clearly have problems in defence at the moment with 15 tries conceded in three outings and the Wallabies wizard is just the man to take advantage.

Folau jaunted over the whitewash in the Tahs opening success over the Stormers after catching an up-and-under and one of his nine tries last Super Rugby campaign came when they were stunningly turned over 40-27 in Sydney by Los Jaguares.

Folau did not score in Argentina in last year's Rugby Championship but bagged a brace in Australia to make it ten for his international calendar year.

Max Oram's recommendation
I Folau to score a try
1pt 13-10 bet365


Sharks v Sunwolves
Sky Sports Action, 1.05pm Saturday

The Sharks have scored 12 tries in their two previous meetings with the Sunwolves and they should enjoy more five-point fun in this Durban encounter on the evidence of both teams' games this season.

Despite looking more organised the Sunwolves have still shipped ten tries in two Tokyo defeats to the Brumbies and Rebels and looked particularly susceptible to set-piece moves using the backs.

Their hosts have shown plenty of adventure and willingness to spread play away from the contact area at pace in narrow defeat at back-to-back runners-up the Lions in round one and last week's Kings Park draw with the Waratahs.

Makazole Mapimpi is the wing of the moment after crossing on debut for the Sharks after following up last year's breakout campaign for the Southern Kings with ten tries for the Cheetahs in the Pro14.

However, a better value bet to follow the Rebels hat-trick hero Jack Maddocks into the multi-try books could prove to be Sbu Nikosi. Nikosi also dotted down against the Lions and bagged a brace against the Sunwolves in Singapore when fellow flyer Lwazi Mvovo touched down three times.   

Max Oram's recommendation
S Nikosi to score two or more tries
1pt 5-2 Betfair


Lions v Blues
Sky Sports Action, 3.15pm Saturday

Back-to-back Super Rugby runners-up the Lions look worth a wager to give up ten points to the Blues in Johannesburg.

The Lions, who are looking to make it four wins on the spin for the new campaign, should have plenty in the tank after easing off the gas in a stunning 49-35 demolition of N1 rivals the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld last week. And they will surely feel that they can give this game their all as they host the Sunwolves next at Ellis Park where August's 25-17 final reverse to the Crusaders is their only loss in 18.

Twelve of those 17 Lions' home wins have been by 13 points or more including a 47-27 success over Los Jaguares in round two and the run began with a 43-5 rout of the Blues. 

Potent All Blacks Sonny Bill Williams and Rieko Ioane are paired together in midfield for Blues as head coach Tana Umaga seeks a first win of the season but it is hard to see them holding the Lions in check after losing half-time advantages against both the Highlanders and Chiefs.   

Max Oram's recommendation
Lions -10
1pt 10-11 Betway, Hills, Sky Bet


Hurricanes v Crusaders
Sky Sports Action, 6.35am Saturday

It is only week four but the Hurricanes have already been around the world in this Super Rugby campaign, racking up a defeat to the Bulls in Pretoria and a convincing win over Los Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

Their performance in Argentina was far from convincing, with a lot of scrappy play and poor handling, and they were not tested much by a Jaguares side who could not find any sustained pressure.

The Crusaders should be far more settled with two home matches under their belt, and with the firepower they boast they look a decent bet to be ahead at the interval.

Graham Woods's recommendation
Crusaders to lead at half-time
1pt Evs general


Reds v Bulls
Sky Sports Action, 8.45am Saturday

The Bulls had no answer to the pace, precision and power of the Lions last week and suffered defeat by a ten-point margin that flattered them thanks to two late tries.

They are unlikely to be pushed so hard in Brisbane, where they have lost their last three outings by a single-figure margin, while they have enjoyed clear-cut home successes against the Reds.

The Reds' victory over the Brumbies last week came courtesy of hard work and battling spirit, with little invention or flair, and this could be another hard grind.

Graham Woods's recommendation
Reds to win by one to 12 points
1pt 11-5 Ladbrokes


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Twelve of those 17 Lions' home wins have been by 13 points or more including a 47-27 success over Los Jaguares in round two
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