It’s the first test between New Zealand and British & Irish Lions. We Preview the match with team news & betting odds – Kick off 8:35am Sat 24th June
New Zealand is 1/6 to win the match with the Lions 5/1 and the handicap betting is -11.5pts. These look very close but if the Lions have any chance of winning it’s probably the first test so maybe a tiny bet at 5/1 might be some value.
The Saturday matches have been the highlight for Lions coach Warren Gatland with two victories from two matches but one has to think that next Saturday could be a step too far for a team who only came together three weeks ago.
Hitting New Zealand hard up front along with box-kicking to gain field position will be the key to whatever chance the Lions have of winning in Auckland on Saturday morning. The trouble is they are up against the pre-eminent escapologists of the era – a team of Harry Houdinis who always seem able to solve any locked-room puzzle and have not been beaten on home soil since South Africa in Hamilton 2009 when the Springboks won 32-29.
The run has seen 43 straight victories with the closest wins were the 8-7 victory over France in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final and the 28-27 victory over England in Dunedin in June 2014. Only four other teams have got within single figures of the All Blacks during the streak.
Starting Team news
Lions team: L Williams (Wales); A Watson (England), J Davies (Wales), B Te’o (England), E Daly (England); O Farrell (England), C Murray (Ireland); M Vunipola (England), J George (England), T Furlong (Ireland); AW Jones (Wales), G Kruis (England); P O’Mahony (capt, Ireland), S O’Brien (Ireland), T Faletau (Wales).
Replacements: K Owens (Wales), J McGrath (Ireland), K Sinckler (England), M Itoje (England), S Warburton (Wales), R Webb (Wales), J Sexton (Ireland), L Halfpenny (Wales).