Bookies back Sharks, Stormers to lose
Cape Town - The Lions will be South Africa's lone remaining side in this year's Super Rugby tournament after the weekend's quarter-finals, according to bookmakers...
Leading SA bookies Sportingbet predict the Lions, the top side after the conference phase of the tournament, will progress to the semi-finals at the expense of the Sharks in their all-SA clash in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Lions have been installed as 1/8 favourites and are expected to triumph by 15 points.
Kick-off at Ellis Park is at 14:30.
The Stormers, the only other SA side to have made the playoffs, are expected to fall short at home against the Chiefs from New Zealand in a repeat of last year's quarter-final at Newlands.
On that fateful afternoon, the Chiefs dished out a lesson in running rugby, putting the Cape side to the sword to the tune of 60-21.
Although the clash is predicted to be far closer this time around, the Chiefs are marginal 4/6 favourites, with a 2-point handicap.
Kick-off at Newlands on Saturday is at 17:00.
The Lions and Chiefs are expected to be joined in the semi-finals by the defending champion Hurricanes and the seven-time champion Crusaders.
The Hurricanes travel to Canberra to face the Brumbies in Friday's only quarter-final (11:45 SA time).
The Hurricanes, impressive of late in beating the previously unbeaten Crusaders at home last weekend are 1/5 favourites, with a handicap of 10 points.
The Crusaders welcome the Highlanders to Christchurch in perhaps the pick of the quarter-finals on Saturday at 09:35 SA time.
The Crusaders have been installed as 2/5 favourites, with a 6-point handicap.
Should the bookies prove to be correct, the scenario would see the Lions join three of New Zealand's finest sides in the semi-finals, but with the added incentive of knowing that victory would see them host the final.