Lions to shock fortress Eden Park with win

With the Lions about to face New Zealand in the opening test at Eden Park tomorrow, one person who knows what it is like to beat the All Blacks is Horndean-based Derek White.

Friday, 23rd June 2017, 3:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:14 pm
British and Irish Lions' Elliot Daly, left, is tackled by Chiefs' Solomon Alaimalo during the tour match at the FMG Stadium, Hamilton

The Scottish international was a member of the 1992 World XV side who beat the All Blacks 28-14 as part of the NZRU centenary celebrations.

White, who was capped 42 times for Scotland between 1982-1992, also has the honour of being a British Lion, after being selected for the 1989 tour to Australia.

He is backing the current Lions to pull off a shock against the reigning world champions.

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I think the Lions can sneak it when they take on New Zealand in the opening test match of the series tomorrow.

Like most games it will be won or lost up front.

The Lions possess a lot of power up front, and if they can defend properly can snuff out the All Black threat.

The inclusion of Elliot Daly and his ability to kick from inside his own half might sway it.

It is an exciting selection with an emphasis on flair rather than defensive capabilities.

Also, it is good to see players picked on form rather than on reputations.

The only question mark over coach Warren Gatland’s selection in my eyes is the inclusion of Alun Wyn Jones in the pack ahead of Mario Itoje.

I would have Itoje in from the start. He is in his early 20s and could easily last the whole game.

After a slow start to the tour the team has been building nicely.

The slow start was understandable, with the players getting over their jet lag and getting to know each other.

One player who has really impressed, though, is number eight Taulupe Falatau, who has looked a real class act.

It should be a terrific contest between him and the All Black number eight and captain Kieran Read.

The second-row forwards have all been good and picking two out from them must have been very difficult.

The All Blacks have only been beaten three times in the last 20 years at Eden Park, which is a bit of a fortress.

They are also back-to-back world champions and the best team in world rugby without a shadow of doubt.

Touring-wise, though, it is the best place in the world to tour because the whole country knows their rugby.

I am predicting a close game, with the Lions coming away with a 21-15 win.

In terms of the reinforcements Gatland has drafted in this week, I am one of those people who thinks it absolutely devalues the Lions shirt.

If you pull on a Lions shirt you need to feel you have earned it.

A Lions place should be earned on merit rather than just because you happen to be handily placed geography-wise.

It is the pinnacle for all UK and Ireland rugby players.

The three Welsh guys were brought in just because they were up the road.

I should imagine that some of the England players who just missed out on selection are spitting feathers.

It must rankle a bit with someone like Joe Launchbury, who I think should have been selected from the start.