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The Lions might be one of the competition’s favourites, but they will be in desperate need of a victory when they host the Jaguares in Johannesburg. Join The Roar for live scores of the match from 12:05am (AEDT).
The Johannesburg-based outfit might have beaten the Jaguares in Round 1, but for a team who have made the last two grand finals and were widely expected to do the same again this time out, one win from their first three games isn’t going to cut it.
In local derby matches, since that win over the Jaguares – the first win on the road between the two clubs in history – they have lost to the Stormers in a close one, with decision making in the final minutes hurting them, then were blown off the park in a surprise 30 points to 12 drubbing at the hands of the Bulls.
Those losses have sent shockwaves through the club, but the talent they possess in key positions is undeniable, and so, with their second straight game at home, they have to be favourites to beat the Jaguares, who have started the new season more or less how they started the last one.
The Jaguares went on a stunning run at the back end of 2018, and while they lost to the Lions, their other two games in Buenos Aires have brought about strong victories over the Bulls and Blues, with last week’s one over the Auckland-based franchise going down to the wire.
This is their first trip away from Argentina for the season though, and travelling has often been this team’s Achilles heel, so unless they can get off to a good start, playing over the top of the Lions’ desperate forward group, it’s hard to see where they will hold any sort of advantage in this game.
The kicking game will also be crucial. If the Lions manage to spend too much time on the Jaguares line, then they will pile up the points, as they have done to so many teams over the last 24 months.
Like their first meeting, when the game was still alive well into the last 20 minutes and the Lions won by nine points, I’d expect the Lions to pick up the win here, but it’ll be close, and ferociously fought in the middle.
Lions by 12.
Be sure to join The Roar for live scores of this match from 12:05am (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment below.