British and Irish Lions: Expect another win but a tougher test for the Lions at the Waratahs

Jonny Sexton returns to the Lions side at fly-half this weekend

Simon Mail previews the British and Irish Lions' latest warm-up game. He is sure they'll face a better examination against the Waratahs...

"Warren Gatland will want a polished performance with so many of the probable Test team featuring in Sydney."

Waratahs v Lions
Kick-off: Saturday 10.30
TV: Live on Sky Sports Two
 

The British and Irish Lions only have two more games before the first Test against Australia so the serious business is getting ever closer. It has been a pretty comfortable tour so far with the team winning all four games to date, and their latest victory saw them put ten tries past the Combined Country XV in a total mismatch.

Warren Gatland's players have only been tested once when they defeated the Queensland Reds last week 22-12. The New South Wales Waratahs will provide determined opposition, but are weakened by the unavailability of nine Wallabies squad members. The side have at least been boosted by the release of flanker Dave Dennis and centre Rob Horne from Robbie Deans' squad.

Coach Michael Cheika saw his side defeat Western Force 28-13 to move seventh in the table in their last game. However the former Leinster supremo was quick to dampen enthusiasm about their chances against the Lions, insisting the team do not have the ability to change their game plan and cause as many problems as the Reds did. 

The Lions have picked a strong side which contains the majority of their likely starters against Australia. Jonny Sexton returns at fly-half with scrum-half Mike Phillips also featuring in the predicted first-choice half-back partnership. Simon Zebo makes his debut after being drafted in due to injuries, and the Irish winger will provide pace and flair as he looks to put some pressure on the backline spots. 

Sam Warburton also comes back into the side and it is a crucial game for the Lions captain. The Welshman was understandably rusty against the Reds last week in his first match following a knee injury. Warburton is still not assured of his place in the team despite being skipper and knows he needs a strong performance with so much strength in depth in the back row. 

Gatland will want a polished performance with so many of the probable Test line-up featuring in Sydney. The team's display dipped in the second half on Tuesday so a consistent showing throughout the full 80 minutes will be expected here. The Waratahs will offer a decent test but the result should not be in doubt - the Lions have scored 28 tries in four games and should certainly add to that tally in this game. Ultimately their superiority ought to be enough to see them pull clear as the match progresses for a fifth consecutive win. 

Recommended bet

Back the Lions to win by more than 12.5 points at 1.330/100

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

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