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The Lions and Bulls will be both out to get back into the Super Rugby winner’s circle when they clash in Johannesburg after disappointing Round 2 performances. Join The Roar for live scores from 12:05am (AEDT).
Both teams got their season away to winning starts, with the Bulls particularly impressive, but they were brought undone last week.
With one and one records all around, this is an important contest for the clubs to get ahead of the eight ball before challenges which lie ahead, including trips out of South Africa for the Lions.
The Lions were sloppy, yet not terrible in their first up victory over the Jaguares away from home. Winning in Buenos Aires is never an easy prospect, but the Lions competed for the entire 80 minutes, and their forwards were excellent, particularly at the defensive end of the park, where they held out drive after drive.
The Johannesburg-based outfit then had more of that sloppiness, including a crazy last couple of minutes where their defence fell apart in what was ultimately a two-point loss to a determined Stormers outfit.
They will need to be better in attack to match it with the Bulls, but if their defence holds strong, it may not matter.
The Bulls had a 40-3 win in a surprise Round 1 performance over the Sharks, but struggled on the road against the Jaguares last week, only scoring 12 points.
Given the Lions defence is generally one of the better ones in the competition, the Bulls will need to find ways of building consolidated pressure on their opponents’ line if they want to get up in this one.
Still, even that seems a little unlikely based on the way they struggled to hang onto the ball last week.
Their lineouts will also need to be precision, against a Lions team who love making things tough for the opposition in the air.
Back at home, the Lions should be expected to get the job done pretty convincingly here. The Bulls are dangerous in attack, but struggled against a good defensive line last week, and that’s exactly what they will run into here.
Lions by 12.
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