Best Bet 1: Crusaders vs Lions – Total Points Under 49.5 @ $1.85 – Tab.co.nz
Crusaders ($1.70) VS BRITISH & IRISH LIONS ($2.20)
The Crusaders will host the British & Irish Lions in a Saturday evening blockbuster at AMI Park in Christchurch. The Crusaders are currently sitting atop the Super Rugby competition, with a perfect 16 – 0 record with only a couple of rounds to go until the playoff begin. The British & Irish Lions on the other hand, have had a tough start to their tour, beating a second-division New Zealand Barbarians outfit (13 – 7), before succumbing to the Blues at Eden Park in the dying moments on Wednesday afternoon.
This is going to be a classic game of rugby. The Crusaders pretty much has the All Blacks pack at their disposal, led by the inspirational Sam Whitelock in the second row and a further five Internationals in the forwards. The backline has All Blacks Seta Tamanivalu (wing) and Israel Dagg (fullback), alongside future New Zealand certainties like flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, centres David Havili and Jack Goodhue and George Bridge on the wing. Looking at the Lions, Warren Gatland has named a completely new starting fifteen that will be captained by Welsh lock Alun Wyn-Jones. Flanker Sean O’Brien, halfback Conor Murray, centre Jonathan Davies and wing George North will all make their first appearances of the tour. Once again, it is a strong line-up, but probably one that is lacking combinations. There is more than enough firepower there, but whether or not they can find a way to unlock the Crusaders defence is the question.
The set piece battle is going to be the main focus on Saturday in Christchurch. Whoever can get ascendancy there and also control the breakdown, will go a long way to winning this match. The Crusaders are going to be a really difficult proposition for the Lions, as they will be brimming with confidence and will believe they can knock off Europe’s best. I have been off the mark with both handicaps so far and given that this match has a very Test-match feel to it and will be heavily dominated by the picks, I am going to side with it being a lower scoring match, with multiple penalties traded.
Predicted result: Too tough to call
Best Bet 1: Crusaders vs British & Irish Lions – Total Points Under 49.5 @ $1.85 – Tab.co.nz