Lions 9/2 To Level Series

Rugby Union Preview: Lions 9/2 To Level Series

2017-06-30
Preview of the second Test between New Zealand and the British and Irish Lions.

The British and Irish Lions are 9/2 to keep alive their hopes of a series victory over New Zealand by winning the second Test in Wellington on Saturday.

After losing 30-15 in the first encounter in Auckland, Warren Gatland has brought in Johnny Sexton at No 10 and switched Owen Farrell to centre in a bid to improve his side's game management.

With wet conditions forecast at Westpac Stadium, the Lions will be keen to keep the All Blacks pegged back deep in their own half and try to force some errors.

Assistant coach Andy Farrell has backed his son Owen and Ireland fly-half Sexton to work well together this weekend.

He said: "They train a lot together, they've been joined at the hip for the last five weeks.

"They are constantly talking about rugby, they room together. So they live and breathe rugby and their partnership will be seamless, I'm sure.

"They are very similar characters. They are both obviously big students of the game and have won a lot of things along the way as well.

"More than anything, it's how they make people feel, how they make the people around them feel; the energy that they bring."

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Farrell can be backed at 15/2 to score a try in this game, with Sexton 10/1 to cross the whitewash.

The England star will also still be on kicking duty and it is 9/5 that the first points in this match come via a Lions penalty goal.

However, those tactical changes do mean a drop to the bench for Ben Te'o, who suffocated New Zealand talisman Sonny Bill Williams last weekend, despite the loss at Eden Park.

Williams is now 7/2 to take advantage by scoring a try at any time and 20/1 to touch down first.

In the winning margin markets, the All Blacks are 15/19 to again romp home by 13 points or more and 37/20 to be given a tougher test by the Lions but still oblige by 1-12 points. 

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen commented: "The last Test was a beauty, and with a little bit more luck and finish, they could have easily won.

"They know that, and they will be coming here with a do or die attitude. We have got to front-up on Saturday. It's okay doing it once, we have got to do it again.

"It's going to be real hands to the pump, so to speak, and everyone is going to have to step up, and if we don't step up, we will get second."