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Lions v South Africa second Test exact scoreline predicted – our expert writers say what will happen amid fears of a backlash

There has been plenty of pre-match talk again, but once more the time is coming for the South Africa and Lions players to walk the walk as the second Test gets underway in Cape Town on Saturday.

The world champion Springboks were marginal favourites to win last time out, but Warren Gatland’s side turned those odds on their head with victory in the first game.

This time the Lions are slight favourites to gain what would be an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three Test showdown.

READ MORE: Warburton predicts exact outcome of Springboks v Lions clash

What will actually happen? Can the Lions triumph again, or will the Springboks gain revenge, level things up at 1-1 and set up a win or bust final Test decider?

Our rugby experts give their predictions for the outcome of the big match.

Matthew Southcombe – A Boklash is coming

The Lions did extremely well to right the ship last Saturday and get off to a winning start after a shocking first 40 minutes.

Neither side was perfect in the Cape Town curtain-raiser but I do believe that there is marginally more growth in the Springboks, which is why I think they’ll go on to level the series.

They won’t get fitter but I think there will be a lot more cohesion in their performance and they should be more disciplined.

South Africa is an incredibly proud rugby nation and they’ll be hurting after last week’s performance, particularly props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe. They were talked up as the best props in the squad last week, who were being sent on to finish off the Lions from the bench.

But they misfired badly and the Lions grew stronger. I’d expect those two to have a big game and if the Lions can’t handle them this week and the set piece goes South Africa’s way, then the tourists are in trouble.

I’m expecting a Boklash simply because I think they’ll tighten up their discipline and get on top in the scrum.

South Africa 26 – 16 Lions

Ben James – Gatland has the Boks’ number

It might seem a bit premature to say Warren Gatland has South Africa’s number, but the truth is he does to some extent.

Having beaten them fives times in four years between 2014 and 2018, he nearly saw off the eventual world champions in the 2019 World Cup semi-final with Wales, despite his side once again limping to that point of the tournament with numerous injuries.

And then, of course, he also helped the Lions shake off a bad start to beat the Boks in Cape Town last weekend.

The game plan to beat South Africa isn’t pretty, but then Gatland has never been too worried about aesthetics.

For all the talk about how much more South Africa can improve, so too can the Lions. There’s growth in each side and the tourists will be banking on the hosts throwing everything at them – hence the changes to the XV.

Survive that onslaught, get the aerial game right and starve the Springboks of what they desire – lineouts, stoppages, dominant defensive sets and, above all, control.

Do that, which the Lions did to great effect in that second-half in Cape Town, and a Test series win is there for the taking.

South Africa 16-22 Lions

Simon Thomas – Springboks’ dangerous backs to seize day

It’s hard to know just how the extraordinary build-up to this second Test will affect the two sides, but we do know what to expect from the Lions, as Warren Gatland has told us.

The plan is to stay in the arm wrestle and keep it tight through astute game management and a pretty direct approach. Then it will be a case of more of the same from the second -half last week in terms of winning the aerial battle and the collisions and maintaining discipline.

So no frills, but if it works, who is complaining?

In contrast, the Springboks have to go for it and have the scope to do so with their dangerous outside backs, while the selection of a more traditional big, ball-carrying No 8 in Jasper Wiese should help provide more of a platform for the likes of Kolbe and De Allende.

So I’m just edging towards a home victory. I hope I am as wrong as I was last week!

South Africa 23-19 Lions

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Mark Orders – Lions to pay for not picking more Welsh players

As Oscar Wilde almost said, to lose one rugby Test playing badly would be unfortunate; to follow it up with another shocker would be careless.

Expect a hugely physical South Africa on Saturday.

They are always immensely powerful, of course, but with the series against the Lions at stake they are going to turn the dial on that front far to the right.

Pretty rugby shouldn’t be expected, but then this game is all about winning. The record books are not going to record who played more attractively. They are going to concern themselves with who won and lost.

Have the Lions picked the right XV? Debatable. There is an argument that the Welsh trio of Liam Williams, Josh Adams and Ken Owens should all be in Gatland’s first XV — Williams for his aerial skills and toughness, Adams because he’s a complete wing and Owens for his physicality.

There is a case for arguing the vastly experienced Taulupe Faletau should be at No. 8, as well, as Gatland’s team look to close out the series.

South Africa, by contrast, look stronger, with a more orthodox No. 8 in Jasper Wiese than a week ago and their best two props, Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe back in the starting team.

With their top scrummaging front row restored, the Boks are going to go after the Lions at the set-piece. How the tourists respond will be vital to the match outcome.

The kicking game will be key, too. Warren Gatland will hope Conor Murray, Dan Biggar and Stuart Hogg can pressure their hosts as they did in the second half last weekend.

There won’t be a lot in it, and discipline and conceding the fewest penalties will be major priorities, but fear of losing the series may just see the Boks over the line.

South Africa 25-19 Lions

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