THE MONEY MAN looks ahead to the Super Rugby final and the early odds offered on the Hurricanes and Lions.
As it became apparent, with 20 minutes to go, that the Lions would dismantle the Highlanders, – as I had predicted – the questions started to come in! What did I think would happen in Wellington in the final? At the same time, I read the comments on SA Rugby magazine's Facebook page with hilarity. Some said that while the Lions would win this game against the Highlanders, they had no chance against a team of the Hurricanes' quality!
SA Rugby magazine's Facebook page later shared a 'new' Springbok emblem that had the Lions' logo in place of the Bok head. I had to remind Lions fans not to get too carried away, and laughed at those who took what was an obvious joke, seriously.
Let's remember, after all, that this is just a rugby tournament. Being from Wales, I am well aware of how important rugby is in this country. My advice to people is to enjoy the moment and celebrate a team that has shown such skill, chemistry and humility. A great story is unfolding, so enjoy it and stop trying to skip to the end of this book to see how it ends.
As for me, I enjoyed every minute and still am. I am amazed at how good this Lions team has been since they were given a 50-17 wake-up call by the Hurricanes at Ellis Park. To those who point to that game as proof that the Lions stand no chance in Wellington, let me remind you that the Hurricanes also got dismantled in Canberra by a mediocre Brumbies team, 52-10!
As I have stated in previous columns, any team can be forgiven a bad game. The Lions and Hurricanes are the best two sides left in the competition, so, let's celebrate the buildup and enjoy the moment.
I have been asked to contribute to the buildup with some insight and that is what I will do.
I do think at 2/1 the Lions offer good value as a bet and would not be surprised to see those odds shrink as the week unfolds. Regarding my prediction, I will leave that until Friday as I tap into my resources to give you a comprehensive evaluation.
It is hard not to get caught up in the romance of the Lions. To me, they are everything a rugby team should aspire to be! A collective group that plays for each other with passion and a humility not seen for some time. But I will divorce myself from that and call it like I see it in my column on Friday.
Lions +6.5 9/10
Canes -6.5 9/10
Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images