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South Africa vs British & Irish Lions 1st Test Preview & Tips - Springboks tipped for win
- South Africa vs British & Irish Lions predictions for Saturday’s Test match
- The fixture will be played at the Cape Town Stadium at 17:00 BST
- South Africa A beat the British & Irish Lions 17-13 just over a week ago
- I am backing a Springbok win in Cape Town
- Tips, stats, team news & preview
South Africa won the 2019 Rugby World Cup (Getty Images)
South Africa vs British & Irish Lions Preview & Tips
South Africa go into the first Test as slight underdogs having only played one Test since their World Cup victory. They however showed in the South Africa A match that they are well prepared so my best bet is for the hosts to win.
- South Africa are the world champions.
- South Africa beat the Lions 2-1 on their last tour (2009).
- South Africa have won their last 7 of their last 8 matches.
- South Africa A beat the B+I Lions 17-13 in their last match.
- British & Irish Lions have won 5 of their last 6 matches.
Head to Head
South Africa beat the British & Irish Lions 2-1 in 2009. The Lions were however successful on their visit before that, winning 2-1 in 1997.
South Africa Form
South Africa come into the first Test against the British & Irish Lions as World Champions. This after they beat England 32-12 in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final in Japan.
Since then the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world and ensured that the Springboks have only played one Test since. That was against Georgia a couple of weeks ago which the hosts won with comfort.
South Africa did field a close to full strength side in the South Africa A game against the Lions a week ago. They beat the tourists 17-13 and if that is anything to go by, this series will be a hotly contested one.
South Africa Team News
South Africa have picked a strong squad with Siya Kolisi recovering in time to lead the side. Of the 15 starters, 11 started the World Cup final two years ago.
Seven of the eight players on the bench were also in the World Cup squad in 2019. The one big blow is the absence of Duane Vermeulen who misses out through injury. Kwagga Smith starts at the back of the scrum.
British & Irish Lions Form
The British & Irish Lions have played some good rugby since they got together. Before departing for South Africa they beat Japan 28-10.
Since then the Lions have beaten the Sharks twice, the Stormers and Golden Lions with relative ease. Their one defeat came against a very strong SA A side.
Head coach Warren Gatland has been in good spirits this week, confident that they can handle the home threat.
British & Irish Lions Team News
Gatland has made a few surprise selections. South African-born Duhan van der Merwe starts at wing ahead of the in-form Josh Adams. Stuart Hogg gets the nod at fullback in place of Liam Williams.
Ali Price is another surprise starter at scrumhalf ahead of Conor Murray.