Opening round wins for Stormers, Lions - bookies

    2018-02-16 10:00

    Cape Town - The Stormers and Lions will get their 2018 Super Rugby campaigns off to winning starts on Saturday - if bookmakers are to be believed...

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    Saturday's Week 1 action features only two matches - both in the South African Conference - as the Stormers host the Jaguares at Newlands (15:05), after which the Lions welcome the Sharks to Ellis Park (17:15).

    The fifth and final side in the Conference, the Bulls, have a bye.

    Leading SA bookies have the Stormers as 7/25 favourites to emerge victorious against a Jaguares side who have struggled to mount any sort of challenge since their tournament introduction back in 2016.

    The South American side are on offer at 11/4 while the draw can be backed at 25/1.

    The Stormers have a lengthy injury list to overcome and will be without star lock pairing Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit for their opener.

    The South African derby in Johannesburg pits the Lions, runners up for the last two seasons, against arguably SA's dark horses in the Sharks.

    The Lions have lost, most notably, coach Johan Ackermann and his son, Ruan, as well as scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and hooker Akker van der Merwe and new coach Swys de Bruin will face a daunting task returning the Johannesburg-based side to a third consecutive final.

    The Sharks will look to build on their losing Currie Cup final performance last year and have recruited wisely, signing among others, flyhalf Robert du Preez and wing Makazole Mapimpi. have the Lions at 3/10, with the Sharks (5/2) and the draw (25/1).

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