Whereas the British & Irish Lions rode their luck to win the first Test against Australia in Brisbane, that fortune deserted them in Melbourne on Saturday.
Right from the moment that Leigh Halfpenny’s early kick rattled the crossbar as opposed to going over it, the tourists seemed to be destined for a frustrating evening – one which was summed up when Halfpenny’s final kick of the game from halfway dropped short of the posts.
Adam Ashley-Cooper’s try five minutes from time and the subsequent conversion from Christian Leali’ifano secured a 16-15 win for the Wallabies, but perhaps even more crucially it established momentum.
At 11/10 to win the third match and ultimately the series, the hosts now look to be the logical bet ahead of the decider in Sydney on July 6th.
From being 15-9 ahead and so close to securing only a third series win in 36 years, suddenly the Lions will be left feeling deflated, with the looks on the faces of the likes of Halfpenny and Tour veteran Brian O’Driscoll at full-time telling their own stories.
Suddenly the prospect of a fifth Test series defeat in the last six looks a very real one for the Lions, making the 10/11 on offer for them to win in Sydney a price to avoid.
Instead it could pay to bank on the usual accuracy of Halfpenny, who has scored 74% of the Lions’ points in the Test series so far and is 4/1 to dominate the scoreboard again in the third Test.
With George North and Alex Cuthbert both scoring tries in the first Test to add to Halfpenny’s 13 points with the boot, the price of 3/1 for Welsh players to score all of the Lions’ points for a third Test in a row could tempt, as could the 11/4 on offer for the last place kick of the match to be missed – something which has happened in both Tests so far.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication