British & Irish Lions vs Japan
Rugby fans have waited 12 long years for the British & Irish Lions to play the Springboks. Although this match is against Japan it kick starts the Lions tour. I for one cannot wait for this match to start and the pride of the UK playing Japan. The name on the Lions starting XV reads like a Harlem Globetrotters list for rugby. The Lions will want to be physical and dominate the smaller Japanese pack. They know that their physicality must be top notch when they face the Boks later in the series so brushing aside Japan will certainly make a statement. The Lions are powerful throughout the team and have added extra physicality in the shape of their big backs. The midfield pairing and wing Duhan van der Merwe are going to give the Japanese defence sleepless nights. Japan will do well to stay away from this match becoming a forwards slug fest. They will be soundly beaten if this happens. Japans strength has always been to play at pace and this is the tactic they have to adopt once again. Their real star player is Kotaro Matsushima and this guy is amongst the best wingers in the game. His battle with van der Merwe will be a highlight as the Lions winger relies on his power while the smaller Matsushima is super-fast and possess a great side step. The Lions will be further buoyed by the fact that they will be playing in front of a crowd of 16000. This is a welcome sight for everybody that loves the game. Both teams have world class loose trios and the trio that can stamp their authority in this match will come out victorious.
TIP: The Lions team although star studded haven’t played together as a team and Japan will need to take advantage of this early in the game. If the Lions settled into their groove early on then Japan could be in for a very tough day at the office. The Lions players will want to show coach Gatland that they deserve a starting place for the bigger tests against the Boks. This will make the Lions players desperate to impress and this could spell more danger for Japan. The Japanese players need to treasure their possession as it won’t be easy to break the defence of the Lions. Players like Dan Biggar know this is one of the few opportunities he will get to stake a claim for the number 10 jersey so expect him to shine. The bookies have the Lions as heavy favourites and I agree with this assessment. The best odds on the Lions win are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.12, Sunbet 1.11and Playabets 1.08
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
British & Irish Lions vs Japan
- This is the first meeting between these sides.
Latest results for both teams
The Lions drew their last match against the All Blacks 15-15 while Japan lost their last game against the Springboks 26-3.
Their overall strength and quality should see the Lions dominate this game. The added bonus for the Lions is hearing the crowd cheer them on. The Japanese team will need to front up in the pack and I can’t see them withstanding the pressure from the Lions pack.The backline of the Lions is damaging with players like van der Merwe, Josh Adams and Liam Williams ready to attack the Japanese defence all game. This match is a classic example of when defence is the best form of attack. Japan will need to move the ball around and try to tire out put the big Lions pack. This will not be easy as the Lions got a great bench to come on later in the game. I see the Lions dominating for 80 minutes therefore I predict a Lions win by more than 17 points.
- Probable Starting XVs
British & Irish Lions
15 Liam Williams, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rory Sutherland
15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Siosaia Fifita, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Lappies Labuschagné, 6 Michael Leitch, 5 James Moore, 4 Wimpie van der Walt, 3 Koo Ji-won, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 1 Keita Inagaki
Odds for this bet
The best odds on the Lions victory are as follows:
Odds comparison on the Lions handicap:
The complete odds on the Lions handicap:
Worldsportsbetting (-15.5) 1.90
Playabets (-15.5) 1.89
Sunbet (-15.5) 1.89
Predictions and Odds in details
The fight for places in the Lions team will make them more desperate and the Japanese can expect an onslaught from the first whistle. The Lions have attacking threats all over the park but the hard work starts up front. This is an area that Japan is going to struggle as they won’t be able to handle the Lions power game. Players like Japan captain Michael Leitch and Amanaki Mafi are world class in their own right and will need to be at their very best to compete against the Lions pack. The Lions have gone for the power of Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki in midfield suggesting they will want to trample the Japanese team as these players are known more for their physicality rather than their guile. The odds on the Lions outright victory does not offer decent returns to punters therefore I suggest the Lions on the handicap. The best odds on the Lions handicap are as follows: Worldsportsbetting (-15.5) 1.90, Playabets (-15.5) 1.89 and Sunbet (-15.5) 1.89
Sports crazy fan that follows all major sport but the game with the oval ball is my real passion. Was an age level rugby coach and a huge supporter of the Springboks and diehard Liverpool man. I’m an experienced punter and sports writer whose predictions/tips are sure to stir up the emotions. I love the occasional wager on the underdog.