Gartland challenges his side to make history
Frank Monkhouse | 8 July 2017
Lions and All Blacks in series decider
The British and Irish Lions face a third and deciding leg vs New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday. The side who were dismantled in the first test, now dare to dream. Who is your money on?
Sports fans will be up bright and early for an 8.35am start, with Sky Sports bringing us the build-up and match live. An exciting morning lies ahead, and you can place your bets on a number of markets, including match winner, half-time/full-time and first try scorer with Coral.
Lions looking to double up
The visitors claimed an emphatic 24-21 win last weekend to tie the series at 1-1, ensuring this meeting doubles as a play-off for the series win. A late smash and grab in Wellington impressed coach Warren Gartland, and he names an unchanged side to go and finish the job.
The team, captained by Sam Warburton, doesn’t include a single Scottish player, injury ruling out Stuart Hogg, and that has ruffled a few feathers, certainly amongst fans north of the border, but it’ll be easily forgotten if the Lions can pull off the impossible and do the double. Easier said than done, especially when considering New Zealand’s form here.
Hosts’ form makes it an uphill struggle
The All Blacks haven’t lost at Eden Park in over two decades, and boast a fearsome record against the Lions on home soil. That seems to have won over Coral traders, who price the away day at a chunky 7/2, which may just attract a few patriotic punts. The Lions were written off across the board last week, and will be confident of upsetting the odds again.
Gartland spoke to the media this week about his fears of a backlash from New Zealand following that second test surprise, but he believes there’s another level to come from his team, and they can step up and meet the challenge head on. The boss reminded his troops they have the chance to make history.
Barrett brothers in arms
The All Blacks have made changes following the pain of that 24-21 reverse, handing Jordie Barrett his first start. That makes Saturday a family affair, with the full-back’s brothers, Beauden and Scott, also involved. Fancy Jordie to mark the occasion with a try? We have him as an 11/1 fourth favourite to get the game’s first, or 2/1 to score anytime. Beauden is an option at 12/1 or 9/4.
Sonny Bill Williams, who was sent off last week, misses out, having been slapped with a four-week ban. Coach Steve Hansen told fans he expects a cracker, but believes his players will deal with the pressures of a winner takes all situation. That’s a feeling shared by our boys at HQ, who have New Zealand nailed on for the win at 1/4. Backers wanting a bit more for their money can play the handicap market, with -12 available at 11/10.