The Proteas will likely play on a more difficult, spin-friendly pitch in the second ODI gainst Sri Lanka. Photo: REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

JOHANNESBURG - The Lions have now reached their third consecutive final, after coming back from 14 points down to the Waratahs last weekend in Jozi. Their reward for this is a trip to ‘The land of the long white cloud’ to take on the Crusaders.

Lions are the first Saffa team to reach the final three years in a row. The Lions have looked a hell of a lot better over the past couple of weeks, more so with the return of two of their MVP’s (Most Valuable Players) in Malcolm “The Machine” Marx and Skipper Warren Whiteley.

The skipper Warren Whiteley will be in his first Super rugby final after missing the last two years’ games due to injury, and this may be the difference for the Lions should they have a chance? The inspiration he brings may be the kind of fire Lions at 6/1 need to win a maiden Super Rugby title in Christchurch on Saturday morning.

Furthermore the fact that the core of the team are playing their last game together should galvanize them. This great team that was initially assembled by Johan Ackermann yonks ago and now coached by Zacharia Francois de Bruin (commonly known as “Swys”), have done us proud as South Africa.

It would be great for this team that has brought us so much joy in the last couple of years, to end this campaign with a win on their third go in just as many years and achieve the almost impossible. As much as I would like to say yes, I fear not but you can take +18.5 points spread at 9/10 as the value bet.

The Protea’s look a lot better out of the whites, we are definitely looking a lot more comfy. After winning the 1st ODI quite easily, we were then treated to another red ball victory at the same ground on the same pitch, it was inevitable. Bank on us to go 3 up and wrap up the series this weekend with a possibility of making it a whitewash?

The season is long so let’s dive quickly into the top match ups to watch out for this weekend. Mamelodi Sundowns plays Kaizer Chiefs, which is the pick of the week in the local dishes. Sundowns look a treat at 9/10, so get in. Then Bidvest Wits to play Free State Stars at Wits stadium in a 6pm kickoff. The home team should be expected to take this game but ke ngithanda (I like) iFree State after last season’s cup victory, so go away team and under 2.5 on the goals.

My newly adopted team in this 2018/2019 Premiership season is the promoted Black Leopards from Thohoyandou, who are at home for their first match in the big leagues. Leopards are up against Polokwane, who have become a permanent fixture in the PSL in recent years. Ekse via there by the bookies and dala on the Leopards.

Cape Town City versus Supersport United, the signs see a banger here but I see 1-1 in the Mother City. The local team Amazulu takes on Baroka at the King Zwelithini Stadium and I would be remiss not to say take the locals to win first up at home.

Orlando Pirates vs Highlands Park from Thembisa, here we say up the Bucs, Ezimnyama ngenkani (The Black Ones) to take this by a goal or two on Saturday night. Have a lakka punt.

Sanele Tshabalala

The Star

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