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    Lions to reach semis, but Sharks have no chance - bookies

    2018-07-18 12:00

    Cape Town - The Lions will reach this year's Super Rugby semi-finals, but the Sharks will be eliminated in the quarter-finals, if bookmakers are to be believed...

    The Lions welcome the Jaguares to Ellis Park on Saturday having finished as South African Conference winners this season.

    Kick-off is at 15:05.

    Their 46 total points was a full 17 fewer than the table-topping Crusaders, but crucially two more than the Waratahs could manage, giving the Johannesburg-based side the second of the top three positions which are exclusively reserved for conference winners.

    The fact the Hurricanes (51) and Chiefs (49) both picked up more log points than the Lions, makes a mockery of the current tournament format for many observers.

    Nevertheless, the Lions will fancy their chances of beating their South American opponents this weekend.

    In their conference clashes this season, the Lions beat the Jaguares 47-27 in Round 2 at Ellis Park, but lost 49-35 in Round 6 in Buenos Aires.

    Leading SA bookies BET.co.za have installed the Lions as 8.5-point handicap favourites, and 33/100 for the outright victory. The Jaguares can be backed at 5/2 while the draw is on offer at 25/1.

    In less optimistic news for South African fans - and Sharks ones in particular - the Durban-based side are favoured to go down to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

    Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time on Saturday.

    The Sharks finished in eighth place in the final standings, a staggering 27 points behind the eight-time title triumphing Crusaders, winning exactly half the number of matches.

    In another quirk of the tournament format, the Crusaders and Sharks didn't face each other this season, nor did they clash last year.

    In fact, it's been a full 28 months since the sides last faced off against one another, in Durban, with the Crusaders edging a close encounter 19-14.

    BET.co.za have the Crusaders as 19.5-point handicap favourites and 7/100 for the outright victory. The Sharks are 8/1 for an upset victory, while the draw can be taken at 33/1.

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