Highlanders vs British and Irish Lions

Best Bet 1:  British & Irish Lions -4.5 (vs Highlanders) @ $1.90 – Sportsbet

HIGHLANDERS ($2.50) VS BRITISH & IRISH LIONS ($1.53)

The fourth match of the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand will see the visitors take on the Highlanders at Forsyth-Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Tuesday evening. The Highlanders currently sit in fourth place in the New Zealand conference with a 10 – 4 record this season and thus, will qualify for the Super Rugby playoffs. The Lions tour has been hit and miss to date securing wins over the New Zealand Barbarians and the Crusaders, but lost to the Blues in their last mid-week game.

Prediction:

Coach Tony Brown has named a team with five All Blacks to start on Tuesday night. All Blacks Liam Coltman (hooker) and captain Luke Whitelock (number eight) would be the most recognisable names, but there are several players in the pack who like to roll up their sleeves and will account well for themselves. None more so than the 35-year-old lock, Alex Ainley. Openside flanker Dillon Hunt is a youngster on the rise and is one of the top tacklers in Super Rugby this season. In the backline, there is a glaring omission at halfback with no Aaron Smith, but Lima Sopoaga will start a flyhalf. The rest of backline has enough potency to cause the Lions some trouble with the likes of Tevita Li and Waisake Naholo, but outside centre Malakai Fekitoa, a recent All Blacks omission, will be out to make a statement.

Looking at the Lions team, Warren Gatland has brought back captain Sam Warburton to restore some pride in the mid-week team. Up front, Joe Marler (England), will start alongside Rory Best (Ireland) and Kyle Sinckler (England). Iain Henderson (Ireland) and Courtney Lawes (England) will orchestrate the line-out and Warburton (Wales) will be joined by James Haskell (England) and CJ Stander (Ireland) in the back row. The halves will see a Welsh pairing of Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar, with Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw and England’s Jonathan Joseph selected in the centres. Tommy Seymour (Scotland), Jack Nowell (England) and Jared Payne (Ireland) complete the starting fifteen. There are three Welshmen (Ken Owens, Alun Wyn-Jones and Justin Tipuric), one Irish (Jack McGrath), three English (Dan Cole, Owen Farrell, Elliott Daly) and one Scotsman in Greig Laidlaw on the bench.

Many are saying that the Lions roared at last when they managed to beat the currently undefeated Crusaders, 12 – 3 in Christchurch on Saturday. It was a match that resembled Test match intensity and poise and rarely, not a try was scored at AMI Stadium. This Lions team isn’t as strong as the one that faced the Crusaders, but there is still more than enough class and experience in this line-up. The Highlanders pack is going to be targeted and although they can sometimes get away with it at Super Rugby level, the Lions are another beast. With players like Aaron Smith and Ben Smith not available for the hosts, I truly believe the Lions can get on top of the Highlanders under the roof and they will be buoyed by their win over the Crusaders on the weekend. I have no hesitation in backing the Lions at the line in this one.

Predicted result: British & Irish Lions to win @ $1.53

Best Bet 1:  British & Irish Lions -4.5 (vs Highlanders) @ $1.90 – Sportsbet

Author

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Glenn

Glenn has followed rugby union for 19 years and has expert knowledge on the game freely committing to over 500 viewing hours a year. Having played with and against some current Super Rugby players and International superstars, he understands the game, the players and the laws inside out. Having been born in South Africa, spent time in New Zealand and currently living in Australia, Glenn lives and breathes rugby. With so many different tournaments happening around the world simultaneously and the addition of Rugby Sevens to the Olympic program, there are always plenty of healthy betting options available. An obsession, a passion, call it what you will, Glenn enjoys sharing his insight, opinions and predictions with anyone who wants to listen.

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