Despite having been the overwhelming underdogs for the series in New Zealand, as well as coming unstuck against the All Blacks, the British & Irish Lions will be hoping to level the series as the duo meet once again on Saturday morning. The reigning World Champions came out on top 30-15 in the opening encounter at Eden Park, however both teams have made changes to their starting XV for the second test at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Many of the bookmakers are still predicting a series whitewash for the All Blacks, however Warren Gatland’s players showed that they are capable of competing with the world’s best last weekend, something that will offer hope to Lions supports. Let’s take a look at the two teams, as well as our betting tips for the game.
New Zealand All Blacks
New Zealand have been forced into two changes ahead of the second test, with injured duo Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty having been replaced by Waisake Naholo and Anton Lienert-Brown. The All Blacks can of course seal a series win with another success on Saturday, with head coach Steve Hansen looking to get another one over on old foe Gatland. The All Blacks proved that they were more than capable of roughing it with the Lions last time around, as well as playing their expansive game when needed, with wing Rieko Ioane a man to look out for following his two tries in the first test.
British & Irish Lions
Having stuck with the All Blacks for around 50 minutes at Eden Park, the Lions know that they must give it their all for the full 80 minutes this time around, with Gatland having also made changes to the squad ahead of the game. Both Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell will start the match, while tour captain Sam Warburton comes in at number six. Saracens starlet Maro Itoje also starts at lock having been on the bench for the first test, with centre Ben Te’o can count himself unlucky to lose his starting place.
Top Betting Tips
The Lions will have undoubtedly expected a tough time in New Zealand, however the tourists certainly showed that they can hurt the home side on this tour, with the likes of Liam Williams and Elliot Daly needing more ball if they are to come out on top. Despite their promise however, it is difficult to look beyond another win for the All Blacks, who have not lost a home fixture since 2009, winning 47 consecutive matches in the process. While odds of 9/2 for the Lions to come out on top on Saturday are appealing, our tip is to back the All Blacks with a -13.5 handicap bet at odds of 10/11 from Ladbrokes.