Kick-Off: 0835, 20/06/2017
Stadium: FMG Stadium
TV: Sky Sports 1
The British and Irish Lions built some real momentum with Saturday’s drubbing of the Maori All Blacks and are fancied to carry that into Tuesday’s clash with the Chiefs.
The midweek games have not gone to plan so far, with the Blues and the Highlanders both scrambling to narrow victories.
However, with the mood in the camp more bullish heading to Waikato, we like 91/100 for the tourists to win by more than five points in our Chiefs vs Lions betting tips.
Warren Gatland will be especially keen to pick up a positive result at his old stomping ground, having coached Waikato from 2005 to 2007.
“If you cut me open I probably bleed red, yellow and black; I’m very proud of my roots,” said the Lions coach.
“It’s a great place to have grown up. Waikato people are incredibly loyal. The amount of support I’ve had is amazing. We experienced that in the 2011 World Cup.
“It’s nice to be back, catch up with some friends. Really looking forward to a great occasion on Tuesday, a fantastic atmosphere and a proper rugby ground as well.”
Lions can again dominate up front
The Chiefs are without a number of international players and will be led by 33-year-old fly-half Stephen Donald.
The 2011 World Cup winner may still have the tactical nous and has always been dangerous when throwing a dummy and running himself, but whether he will have too many opportunities to shine is open debate.
The Lions have obviously shuffled their pack again, but they still have the power and technique to dominate up front, while the likes of CJ Stander, James Tipuric and James Haskell should be able to control this fixture around the rucks.
Rory Best will captain the Lions, with the six late tour call-ups featuring on the bench to ease the burden on Gatland’s probable Test match squad.
Wales quartet Cory Hill, Kristian Dacey, Gareth Davies and Tomas Francis have made the short trip from Auckland to link up with the Lions.
Scotland’s Allan Dell and Finn Russell have jetted in from Australia, and will also provide cover among the replacements.
“They are all Test match players,” said scrum-half Greig Laidlaw of the new additions.
With Scotland teammate Russell having impressed in a 24-19 win over Australia on Saturday, Laidlaw added: “Finn is a quality operator, he’s gifted, he’s a good offloader, he reads the game, he’s excitable.
“Given an opportunity, he’ll come in, but there’s quality players within the squad already. So to have a few more to come in and boost the squad as well is great.”
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