British and Irish Lions Tour: Chiefs v British and Irish Lions Preview


The Lions take on the Chiefs this Tuesday in the penultimate mid-week fixture of their tour. 

The midweek Lions side will be looking to replicate the Test side’s performance against the Maori All Blacks when they take on the Chiefs in Waikato this Tuesday morning. The Chiefs, meanwhile, will be looking to become the third Super Rugby franchise to inflict defeat upon the Lions in 2017.

Chiefs v British and Irish Lions | Tuesday 20 June | FMG Stadium Waikato | 09:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Chiefs 33/20 | Draw 25/1 | Lions 5/10
Chiefs (+5.5) 9/10 | Lions (-5.5) 9/10

This is by no means a full strength Chiefs side with Damien Mckenzie, Aaron Cruden, Charlie Ngati and Brodie Rettalick all missing out. As such, the hosts are going to be heavily reliant on veteran Stephen Donald to control proceedings. The former All Black starts at ten this week and will also skipper the side.

Another back with a decent amount of experience is Tim Nanai-Williams. The diminutive Nanai-Williams will get a start at outside centre this week, which is great news for him as he’s almost been frozen out of the Chiefs Super Rugby squad.

The Chiefs pack is also pretty light on seasoned veterans with All Black Dominic and Tongan Siegfried Fisis’ihoi the only forwards to have played international rugby.

Despite the Chiefs lack of experience in the starting XV, I’m still expecting a big performance from them, particularly in the second half when All Blacks Liam Messam and Hika Elliot take to the field.

Okay, so the boys who take to the field for the Lions this Tuesday will more than likely not form part of the starting XV for Saturday’s Test. And while most of them really don’t deserve a start against the mighty All Blacks, Irish flanker Sean O’Brien can feel aggrieved after his stellar showing against the Maori has seemingly gone unnoticed by Warren Gatland.

Like the spurned O’Brien, the men who pull on the red and white this Tuesday will be looking to make big statements as a solid showing here may see them get a spot in the Test side should injury befall one of the first stringers.

One man who had no hope of making the Test side a few weeks ago and may now just get a bash is Finn Russell. The Scottish fly-half, who was only called up to the squad a few days ago, has been named on the bench for the clash with the Chiefs. If he can come on and make an impact here, then he may rise above the out-of-sorts Dan Biggar, who is back up to the injury prone Johnathon Sexton and Owen Farrell.

Verdict: Lions (-5.5) 9/10
I’m expecting a big showing from this midweek side, who know their chances of a spot in the Test side have narrowed significantly since last Saturday. As such, I'm all over the Lions -5.5 handicap.

Written by Darry Worthington for!

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