All Blacks v British and Irish Lions — Predictions
Y Ddraig and two respected rugby afficiados give you their views on the first test as well as a series prediction on the outcome of the upcoming games.
First up is ex-Wales and Cardiff scrum-half and now part of BBC’s rugby commentary, Andy Moore:
It must always be difficult on a tour with 40 + players in a squad to get some form of cohesion when realistically to have a chance of winning games , let alone tests, which would suggest that you need to hit the ground sprinting rather than running. I think that we have seen this with glimmers of players forming partnerships Teo and Davies, and the half backs.
On the performances to date whilst optimistically I would love to see the Lions win my rugby sensible head says that I can’t see anything other than 3–0 to the hosts. They have after all been waiting 12 years for this and won everything else possible in between . I think that Lions need to concentrate on finishing off chances that they are slowly starting to create — international rugby may afford you one or two opportunities and you would be expected to finish these were you hoping to go on and win the game — you sort of feel that the men clad all in black will create and finish after all it’s why they are and have been No1 in world for so long and why we ( rest of rugby world)follow their lead — so how do the Lions beat them ?
Be better , stronger, faster in all facets of play coupled with all 23 of you having the games of your lives ( in 2 games ) otherwise it could be a long trip
I’ve no doubt that 100% will be given by what ever player dons that famous red jersey but I can’t see where they can muster the requirements to win a let alone doing it twice, I so hope I’m wrong.
Next with his thoughts is respected rugby journalist, Mike Pearce. Mike is on Twitter if you would like to follow his views, which is recommended, @MPsportsdragon
There aren’t many tougher assignments in the rugby world than taking on the All Blacks at Eden Park. Any hopes the Lions had of catching them cold in the first test were blown out of the water last weekend after Samoa were demolished.
The Lions have only won 6 out of 35 matches against New Zealand in their entire history so everything appears against them, and yet there is hope.
The All Blacks will want a high tempo game whilst the Lions will want a wet day and a physical confrontation bordering on the brutal. Hooker Dane Coles is a huge loss for New Zealand he is the fulcrum of their forward effort and the one man they would not want to lose.
Discipline will be vital for the Lions, Ireland only gave away four penalties when they beat NZ in Chicago. And with the boot quite literally on the other foot, Should the All Blacks incur the wrath of Jaco Peyper, there is no one in the world better equipped to take advantage than Owen Farrell or Leigh Halfpenny.
New Zealand are firm favourites for the first test as they were in 1971 and look what happened there. Everyone down under boasted how the Crusaders and the Maoris would tear the Lions defence to shreds on this tour , and the Lions won both games.
They have nothing to lose and I have a gut feeling that the Lions are going to sneak this one, or maybe that is just wishful thinking on my part. In terms of the series I see New Zealand taking it 2–1.
Craig Muncey — Y Ddraig
Been saying for months that New Zealand would win this series 3–0, and that The Lions would not win 50% of their matches on this tour. However, I am not so sure now that New Zealand will win as easily as I initially thought. The Lions forwards have been mightily impressive, and the defence by the whole team has been outstanding, the rush up in defence has not given the opposition a moment to think and have been snuffed out, however, Saturday it steps up yet another level.
The Lions will need to play a game where decisions are made correctly on the pitch, kick chase has to be strong, and ball retention is crucial, you turn the ball over against New Zealand and you could soon be having a meeting under your posts scratching your head wondering what just happened.
To beat New Zealand you have to score tries and take your chances, The Lions have missed numerous opportunities on this tour, to win Saturday, this cannot happen. I am predicting a New Zealand victory on Saturday a win by less than 15 points. Unfortunately, I think the first test is the best chance of a Lions victory, so I am going a 3–0 series victory to the hosts.
So those are our thoughts, what are yours?