By Declan Kelleher | Head rugby trader @ Paddy Power
The Lions open their campaign as 14-point favourites (updated from 12) in Hong Kong against a strong looking Barbarians team led by Sergio Parisse (below).
Looking back at recent tours the Lions have struggled in their opening games. In 2005 the Lions could only manage a 25-25 draw against a second string Argentina side in the Millennium Stadium when they were massive favourites and in 2009 they needed three late tries to beat a weak Royal XV team in South Africa when they were once again huge favourites.
Unlike the Lions, the Babas have already played a game together when they were thrashed by an experimental English side last Sunday. They should be much more focused this week, especially after the introduction of a drinking ban, and with another week training together they’ll fancy their chances of a big upset this weekend.
They’re a much better side than those two sides the Lions opened up their previous two tours against so the Lions will need to gel quickly if their to cover this opening double digit handicap.
- Will the Lions cover the handicap? Lions v Barbarians
- Read Lions legend Gareth Thomas’ perfect starting XV