New Zealand vs Great Britain (Saturday 4am)
Last week was a tough watch. Although the lads battled well, we never looked like getting on top of Tongan team who dominated us physically. I was surprised width and creativity in the team, especially with Jackson Hastings in there. The inclusion of Daryl Clark this week is a must because when Tonga began to tire in the second half, we didn’t take advantage around the ruck area. Jake Connor’s inclusion for the injured Oliver Gildart gives us an added edge, although the absence of Luke Thompson will be a big miss. I’m interested to see how Jonny Lomax does at full-back having not played there all season, but it has to be said that Lachlan Coote was a big disappointment last week. The game will be won in the forwards and Wayne Bennett will be looking for Chris Hill, Tom Burgess and Alex Walmsley to punch holes in the Kiwis pack.
New Zealand coach Michael Maguire has made the surprise decision to drop Shaun Johnson with veteran Benji Marshall partnering Kieran Foran in the halves. Having lost the three-match Test Series in England last year the Kiwis will be desperate for revenge and I do feel they have they have the more devastating back five. Not only this but they have a team scattered with NRL Grand Final winners and convincingly beat Tonga 34-14 earlier this year. You have to feel Great Britain will be better this week though and the recent good form against the Kiwis should give them a psychological edge. It’s another very tough game to call and I’m not expecting there to be more than a score between the teams. My head says New Zealand but my heart says Great Britain, so I’m going to remain patriotic and go with my heart.
Keith says: Lions by 4