Resurgent Lions can win war of attrition against the Highlanders
The British and Irish Lions dug deep to record a morale-boosting victory over the Crusaders last time out and they’ll most likely need more of the same to overcome their next opponents.
Warren Gatland’s side put on a dogged display to secure a 12-3 victory over their previously all-conquering opponents on Saturday.
And if playing in a similar vein it’s likely that their match-up against the defence-minded Highlanders will be another attritional contest.
The key difference on this occasion is that these hosts aren’t expect to heavily challenge the scoreboard, so the emphasis is very much on the Lions to showcase some attacking prowess.
Broadly speaking, the Highlanders’ results against their fellow Kiwi sides have been tight so far this season. That’s exemplified by their last-gasp 25-22 loss to the Crusaders on their previous outing.
And against a ‘midweek’ Lions side we expect the margin to be low here with Highlanders +5 at even-money one option.
The 11/5 for the Lions to win by a 1-10 point margin is more attractive though and that’s our best bet for this contest.
In terms of the men who can do the damage, Jonathan Joseph comes back in and he could be key to the Lions’ hopes. It’s 12/1 for the Bath and England star to score the game’s first try or 11/5 for him to cross the line at any time.
Jack Nowell is given another chance to prove he’s worthy of a place in the Test side and that carrot makes the 11/8 for the Exeter Chiefs winger to score a try another selection to mull over.
Highlanders wing Waisake Naholo is the shortest priced player to open the scoring at 8/1.
And the man described in some quarters as the ‘most lethal finisher on the planet’ could well punish the Lions if they can’t get their kicking game right and take control of the contest.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing