Yes, can you believe the first Lions game is upon us already, thatsbettingtips.com has you covered throughout the tour with our new signing and Rugby expert @Chugger here to preview/guide/tip us through the whole tour, GAME ON!!
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The conjecture is over. The first Lions team has been announced and we’re off and running!
The side will be captained by 2009 skipper Paul O’Connell, who takes over in the absence of injured flanker Sam Warburton who was not risked due to slight medial ligament damage. A number of players will playing their first matches in some time after returning from injury, these include Richie Gray and wing Alex Cuthbert. The team contains 9 Welshmen, 3 Scots, 2 English and one Irishman. Despite the wealth of international experience in the side only four of them have represented the Lions before, so have no doubt the nerves will be jangling for those making their first starts.
As expected the side comprises largely those players not involved in last weekend’s Aviva Premiership and RaboDirect Pro12 finals. On paper, the side is a strong one with a number of international combinations linking up in the guise of Lions. Roberts and Davies form a powerful centre partnership and the back row again sees an all Welsh combination, with Lydiate, Faletau and Tipuric adding tackling ability, power and pace to the 8.
Farrell and Philips link up at half back having been in camp together for the full two weeks whilst Jonny Sexton makes the replacements bench. Many eyes will no doubt be on the Scottish trio of Maitland, Hogg and Gray with Hogg in particular having lit up the 6 Nations with his sublime running skills. Expect him to feature prominently.
So, down to the serious stuff! The Barbarians are a touring side with a history of having as much fun off the field as they tend to on it, who can forget Gareth Edwards opening try against the All Black in 73!? So you would expect the Lions to run out comfortable winners wouldn’t you? Well, there’s been talk of an alcohol ban in the Baa-Baa’s camp this week and after the hiding they took at Twickenham last weekend, and they will want restore some pride in the Jersey. They’ve also called a few big guns into the side with Joe Rokocoko and Sergio Parisse both starting. But despite both teams only having just come together you would expect Gatland and his side to want to put down a marker in their first match before heading onto Australia.
I’m going for a Lions win by 15 points, with all back three to get amongst the tries.
We suggest backing-
· Lions Win- Handicap (-13 points) with William Hill @ 10/11
· Back Cuthbert/Maitland & Hogg (with an even stake) at 8/1, 10/1 & 11/1 respectively to score the first try – should any of these players score the first try, you are guaranteed an overall payout @ 5/1 in this market.
· Follow our Rugby expert here- @Chugger
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· 2. Open a new account
· 3. Place a £25 bet
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Lions team: Stuart Hogg (Scotland), Alex Cuthbert (Wales), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Jamie Roberts (Wales), Sean Maitland (Scotland); Owen Farrell (England), Mike Phillips (Wales); Mako Vunipola (England), Richard Hibbard (Wales), Adam Jones (Wales), Richie Gray (Scotland), Paul O'Connell (Ireland), Dan Lydiate (Wales), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Toby Faletau (Wales).
Replacements: Tom Youngs (England), Cian Healy (Ireland), Matt Stevens (England), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Jamie Heaslip (Ireland), Conor Murray (Ireland), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), George North (Wales).
Barbarians: Jared Payne (Ulster), Joe Rokocoko (New Zealand), Elliot Daly (London Wasps), Casey Laulala (Munster, New Zealand), Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz, United States), Nick Evans (Harlequins, New Zealand), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz, France); Paul James (Bath, Wales), Schalk Brits (Saracens, South Africa), Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester, Italy), Marco Wentzel (London Wasps, South Africa), Dean Mumm (Exeter, Australia), Samu Manoa (Northampton, USA), Sam Jones (London Wasps), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais, Italy – captain).
Replacements: Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso, Italy), Duncan Jones (Ospreys, Wales), Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing Metro 92, Italy), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester, Scotland), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz, France), Kahn Fotuali'i (Ospreys, Samoa), James Hook (Perpignan, Wales), Mike Tindall (Gloucester, England)