Brisbane. The Sun Kissed Australian Gold Coast, where the Suncorp Stadium hosts the first British Lions Test Match against Australia tomorrow morning UK time. Well not quite sun kissed this week as Queensland has seen heavy rain, and this is going to impact on the game for players and bettors alike.


Australia +3 11/10 First Test v British Lions @ Bet365


So firstly, the impact of the weather. A trough combined with an easterly jetstream has brought cold and rain all week

Tomorrow is expected to be brighter, but its still expected to be soft underfoot.

So what?

Well the first Lions Test should be very very close, and the prevailing conditions should make it closer still. Fewer tries, more of a forward battle and a kicking duel.

I still think Australia are very under-estimated by the bookmakers.

I previewed the three test series at

The Australians are underdogs for tomorrow, underdogs for the series and yet the facts don’t really back that up

- While the Lions players have had a long season, and a Tour trekking across the country playing twice a week for a month, the Australians have been in training camp and withdrawn from all warm up games, and will certainly be fresh with a playing style that we can only anticipate. How the Lions will play is clear to everyone, that’s a tactical advantage for the Australians

- In players like Stephen Moore the hooker, James Horwill the captain, the superb Michael Hooper at open side and the wonderful Will Genia at scrum Half they have the players to compete with the Lions both up front and at breakdowns. It is widely assumed that the Lions will have forward dominance. I think the Australians will get parity in the scrums, in part because of the refereeing interpretations likely to apply and could well have the advantage at breakdowns/rucks.

Why is this? Well to me the Lions back row combination is designed to roam the wild open spaces. Croft is a wide runner, Heaslip is better in space and Warburton is not the fetch it and fetch it quick type of Number seven that Hooper is, or in his squad Tipuric is. The Australian player Hooper could well spoil a lot of Lions ball.


- From there, both teams will have strong defences, both teams will have strong kicking games and the Australians have a very dangerous back three, if the weather allows them to have an impact

I thought about recommending unders on the points (pivot point 43 points) but my worry with that is the metronomic Leigh Halfpenny, who is a 90% plus goalkicker and could easily score 18-21 points on his own

I thought about the Australians outright at 13/8.

I then saw that with a three point start Australia can be had at 11/10

This is very possibly, in fact I would say almost certainly, a game that will be won by 10 points or less. Could easily be less than a score either way.

Within that context odds against on the handicap with a penalty start is attractive

Within my research I looked at Australia’s last six tests

Wales 14-12 (a) win
Italy 22-19 (a) win
England 20-14 (a) win
France 6-33 (a)
New Zealand 18-18 (h) draw
Argentina 25-19 (a) win

With the exception of the blowout in Paris (underprepared, straight off a long journey) all the games are close, and several are within three points

The pitch conditions, going back to the start, will aid this being a close match too


Australia +3 11/10 First Test v British Lions @ BET365