The highly-anticipated 3-match test series between the All Blacks and British & Irish Lions has rugby fans the world over split.
That division though is largely on who to back, as one of the globe’s most unique sporting entity’s is in New Zealand to take on the World Champions, as you’d be hard-pressed to find too many optimistic Lions fans that they can topple New Zealand.
In a Lions Special Edition, the Laureus Power of Sport podcast has sought out the opinions of 446 test caps-worth of expertise as Academy Chairman and former All Blacks skipper Sean Fitzpatrick, Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll, Springbok record try-scorer Bryan Habana, former All Black lock Ian Jones and renowned broadcaster and former British Lion John Robbie weigh up the odds on the Lions scoring an upset victory.
In typically frank, Fitzpatrick-style, there’s only one winner.
“It’s going to be a very competitive time on the field and off it. I predict that it’ll be a hugely competitive series but the All Blacks will win the first test, possibly lose the second and win the third, so, 2-1.”
While for O’Driscoll, whose 2005 tour ended prematurely, he foresees more heartache.
“You get the sense that it would take a monumental achievement for the Lions to win the series. We can live in hope but history would suggest that the All Blacks are firm favourites.”
Not only do our guests assess how Warren Gatland’s side would plot an unlikely victory, and where the key match-ups will be, but Fitzpatrick tells us what it will be like for Gatland to coach again in the land of his birth.
John Robbie fondly remembers being told he’d being selected by a journalist on the side of a pitch in Southern Africa and highlights that the culture created within the team is key to success but doesn’t think that will be enough in New Zealand.
“This Lions team is under pressure, it has a heck of a lot of talent in it, however that’s not what makes a Lions side successful it’s more than that. I predict that the All Blacks will win the series, I hope the Lions win a game.”
And a final word to Bryan Habana who starred in the 2009 series where the Lions went to South Africa as big underdogs, like they are in 2017, and nearly pulled off a famous victory. He doesn’t see that history repeating itself though.
“I predict that the Lions will have an uphill battle and New Zealand will come away with a 3-zero margin.”
To hear the full set of interviews download the Power of Sport Lions Special Edition now.