While Leigh Halfpenny would have been consumed by his last minute penalty miss in the immediate aftermath of the second Test, such is the consummate professionalism of the Welsh full back that it will only have motivated him ahead of the decisive Sydney showdown.
Halfpenny, who had already scored five penalties for the Lions and was their only point scorer, had a chance to snatch victory and struck a penalty from halfway only to see it drop short of the posts.
Given that Halfpenny has been exceptional for much of the first two Tests, it would be foolish to assume that another fruitful 80 minutes is beyond him. With 13 points in the first Test and 15 in the second, over 11.5 points for the Cardiff Blues man at 8/11 looks to be a fantastic bet, especially if this match is geared towards the forwards as the last was.
His peers have backed him to bounce back, though, with compatriot Dan Lydiate stating: “It’s just one of those things and I’m sure the next time he’s in that position he’ll slot it. I’d back him every time. Watching that guy train, he trains like a demon and is always doing his extras.” If Halfpenny comes back like Lydiate expects him to, 7/4 for him not to miss a place-kick at goal looks a good bet.
Those who feel the pressure could get to the kickers again, especially should the opportunity arise in the dying stages may find Ladbrokes’ offer intriguing – money back on losing match bets should the last place-kick of the match miss. Australia edge favouritism at 5/6 while the Lions are available at 6/5.
Nervy kicking has been a trademark of this tour, as Australia demonstrated in the first Test, missing two penalties in the last five minutes. In fact, Australia squandered 14 points worth of kicks in that game. It looks a good bet then that Halfpenny boasts a more impressive kicking percentage than Leali’fano at the end of the 80 minutes at 4/7.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.