Rugby tips: Paddy trader’s 3 best bets as the British & Irish Lions tackle Japan

Our rugby trader Ciaran Heuze has been tackling the stats to come up with 3 best bets as the British & Irish Lions get down to business.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

Japan to Win on Handicap (+20)

Having defeated both Ireland and Scotland en route to topping Pool A at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Japan have shown they are capable of competing against the big boys at the highest level. And, while they may not have played a Test match since succumbing to eventual champions South Africa at the Quarter-Final stage, their starting XV this weekend includes ten of the team that went down to the Springboks in that keenly-fought contest.

A combination of a physical back row and exciting backline will mean they are well equipped to match up to the Lions at the breakdown while possessing the ability to create tries from all over the pitch. Meanwhile, the Lions, who include a number of first-time tourists, have had only a ten-day training camp to get to know each other with club commitments owing to several more late arrivals. On the other hand, the Japanese will know each other inside out having achieved success together before, and while the individual quality of the Lions may eventually shine through, I expect this to be closer than the current H’Cap line would suggest.

Lions v Japan – 3pm, Saturday June 26
Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland
Channel 4/ Virgin Media 2

Kotaro Matsushima Anytime Tryscorer

Following an eye-catching debut season at Clermont, Japan’s electric wing wizard is primed and ready to take on the Lions. One of only two members of the squad who play their club rugby outside Japan, Matsushima crossed the whitewash on eleven occasions last season and has an impressive record at Test level – averaging a try every other game in 38 appearances.

He will be expected to provide Japan’s spark in attack and expect him to receive plenty of ball in hand when opportunities arise.

British & Irish Lions Tries – Under 5.5

With only a short period of time together before this weekend’s warm-up, the Lions may take some time to get going. I think they will struggle to click from the off and would expect them to instead keep the scoreboard ticking over through the boot of Dan Biggar. The forecast may be for showers at Murrayfield tomorrow afternoon, but I don’t quite think it will be raining tries.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

British & Irish Lions v Japan tips

Japan to Win on Handicap (+20)
Kotaro Matsushima Anytime Tryscorer
British & Irish Lions Tries – Under 5.5

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