British and Irish Lions: Final match before opening Test could challenge Lions

Warren Gatland's side only have one match left before taking on Australia in the first Test

Simon Mail previews the final warm-up game for the British and Irish Lions where they could be stretched by the Brumbies...

"Jake White has spoken about writing their names into history by securing a huge scalp and even with a depleted side, the Brumbies are a tricky obstacle."


Brumbies v Lions
Kick-off: Tuesday 10.40
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1

The British and Irish Lions face their final warm-up match against the Brumbies before the much anticipated first Test with Australia. The tourists have won all five matches on the tour and produced their best display yet on Saturday in the 47-17 win over the Waratahs. The Lions were in tremendous form as they ran in five tries including two from Leigh Halfpenny in his 30-point haul.

Warren Gatland made a shock decision at the weekend after he brought former Wales winger Shane Williams into the side for Tuesday's game. The 36-year-old, who is the record try scorer for his country, has been drafted in for one match only from Japan after he quit international rugby two years ago. 

Williams' surprise inclusion has been caused by five injuries to the backline including Jamie Roberts who suffered a suspected torn hamstring against the Waratahs. England internationals Christian Wade, Brad Barritt and Billy Twelvetrees all make their debuts in the Brumbies clash after being called into the squad. Gatland has understandably decided he wants to keep most of the Test starters back and rest them this week. It is still a decent Lions side but will be significantly different from Saturday's team. 

World Cup winning coach Jake White has guided the Brumbies to the top of the Super XV table this season. The former South Africa chief has given the team the belief they can win the title this season and they will fancy their chances of causing the Lions problems. But the Canberra based club will have to cope without 12 players through injury or being unavailable with the Wallabies. 

The Brumbies will take inspiration from their performance 12 years ago against the Lions when they pushed them all the way. Leading by five points, the Brumbies eventually were pipped 30-28 after conceding an injury time try. White has spoken about writing their names into history by securing a huge scalp and even with a depleted side, the Brumbies are a tricky obstacle.

The Lions were tested against the Queensland Reds but this match has the potential to be even closer. With a side featuring players drafted in due to injuries, Gatland's team could be there for the taking. The Brumbies are a dangerous outfit although they too have plenty of first choice players missing. The Lions have talked about going undefeated on the tour and they should still have enough here but it could be similar to 12 years ago when they won by the narrowest of margins.


Recommended Bet

Back the Lions to win by less than 12.5 points at 2.26/5

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster


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