Rain and rugged Lions can stifle New Zealand in first Test
We’ve finally arrived at the moment of truth. Just how will Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions fare when they take on the might of New Zealand this summer?
We’ll get a good sighter of how it could all pan out this Saturday when the Lions take on the All Blacks in the first Test at Auckland’s Eden Park.
A deluge of rain, expected to clear by kick-off, will have an impact on proceedings, as will the way Gatland has set his team up.
Admittedly, history, and the hosts’ formidable record at Eden Park, are against the tourists.
New Zealand haven’t lost at the venue since 1994 while the 1971 Lions were the last incarnation to win a series in the All Blacks’ back yard.
It’s just 4/7 for the Lions crop of 2017 to suffer the same fate as the 2005 team that lost the series 3-0.
Onto matters at hand though and it’s 2/7 for NZ to win the first Test with the Lions priced at 7/2 and a tie available at 25/1.
Given the weather forecast, and the solid defensive foundations the Lions have laid, this opener looks unlikely to be an expansive game for the purists.
Therefore, the even-money on offer for the Lions +11 on the handicap makes appeal as well as New Zealand to win by 1-10 points at 19/10.
Gatland has named a strong and experienced line-up while the inclusions of Wales and Scarlets flyer Liam Williams and Wasps wing Elliot Daly are signals of attacking intent.
Meanwhile, his counterpart Steve Hansen has also sprung a few surprises, most notably the call-up for talented prospect Rieko Ioane.
Hansen is putting his faith in the 19-year-old star to shine, much like he did when rampaging past the Lions in the Blues’ 22-16 victory earlier this month.
It’s 8/1 for Ioane to score the game’s first try with team-mate Israel Dagg the same price and Daly the shortest-priced option for the Lions at 16s.
Click here for the latest New Zealand v British and Irish Lions odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing