Rugby fans will get their first glimpse of the British & Irish Lions this Saturday morning when they take on the New Zealand Barbarians in the first match of the Lions Tour 2017, with 5 more tests scheduled before the real action gets under way on Saturday June 24th.
Four years on from their historic series win in Australia, the Lions are 7/2 outsiders at Bet365 to get the better of the world champions – having lost 3-0 the last time they came up against the All Blacks here 12 years ago.
However, former Scotland coach Vern Cotter believes the tourists have the power to win the series despite losing star man Billy Vunipola to injury. The Kiwis have an injury doubt over Kieran Reid, and Cotter believes the potential absence of the number eight could have a major bearing on the series. “The All Blacks are reliant on Kieran Read, and they are reliant on Brodie Retallick,” he said. “We saw [when New Zealand had] a weakened team a few months back, Ireland were able to take the win off them. Is the midfield going to be powerful enough to hold up the Lions?”
A 2-1 series win for the hosts can be backed at best odds of 21/10 with Unibet, while a 2-1 scoreline in favour of the Lions is available at 6/1 with Betfred – who also offer the best odds of 33/1 on the tourists leaving New Zealand having won all three tests.