Spirits are high in the Lions camp after a convincing win over the Maori. Angus Watt believes they'll notch another victory against a weakened Chiefs side on Tuesday morning...
"If the Lions can get the ascendancy up front (as they did at the weekend), then the Chiefs will be starved of front-foot ball"
Chiefs v Lions
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Instinct is to back the Chiefs on the handicap here. The midweek team have consistently disappointed with defeats to the Blues and the Highlanders. Sloppy handling and defensive ill-discipline in these games have sullied the good work and achievement of the weekend side. However, for this game, it is worth siding with the tourists.
The Chiefs are quite significantly under strength. They miss Test Match players Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane and Anton Lienert-Brown. Of the six Chiefs players that faced the Lions on Saturday, only two are named in the squad - both on the bench. The Lions must smell blood.
How will the Lions assert their dominance? Warren Gatland has received a lot of criticism for his 'Warrenball' tactics (essentially - boring, forward-dominated rugby) but I'm increasingly believing that it is the best way to play against these highly skilled Super Rugby teams. If the Lions can get the ascendancy up front (as they did at the weekend), then the Chiefs will be starved of front-foot ball. The Lions have generally been very strong in defense so I expect them to gradually wear down this Chiefs team.
On paper, the Lions team is strong. One would hope that they are starting to gel properly after a few weeks together. The front-row of Joe Marler, Rory Best and Dan Cole looks a powerful and well-balanced trio. I'm also expecting a big game from CJ Stander. He'll be disappointed not to have made the Test Team and his powerful running should cause the Chiefs problems.
Combined, we have a weak Chiefs team who face a smarting, powerful Lions side. They should notch their first midweek win here.