Rugby Union

Warburton to play just 105 minutes of Lions Tests (23rd June 2017)

British and Irish Lions tour captain Sam Warburton will play a total of 105 minutes in the three-test series against New Zealand, according to spread betting firm Sporting Index.

The Welsh back-rower strained his ankle during the opening twenty minutes of the Lions' first game of the tour and has struggled to establish himself as a regular starter in the matches since.

Warburton will now have to settle for a place on the bench for the first test having failed to secure a place in the starting XV, and the spread betting firm predict the flanker will play a bit-part role throughout the tests.

The three-test series could prove a rugby classic, with both teams unleashing their attacking flair. New Zealand ran in 12 tries in their 78-0 victory over Samoa last week, and the spread betting firm envisage a total of 16 tries being scored over the three tests.

However, Sporting Index's traders can't see the British and Irish Lions scoring many of these, with only eight tries predicted in their remaining four tour games.

Gatland's side have crossed the whitewash 11 times in six games on tour thus far, and despite selecting an attacking backline for the first test in Auckland, tries may prove hard to come by against a formidable All Blacks defence.

Ed Fulton, trading spokesman for Sporting Index, said: "We already know that coach Warren Gatland is leaving Warburton out of the starting line-up to face the All Blacks in Saturday's first test, opting for Peter O'Mahony as captain."

"Gatland chooses his players on merit and form, so Warburton's early injury has diminished his chances of getting regular playing time for the remainder of the tour, leading our traders to predict a total of 105 minutes."

"Warburton himself has stated that he will stand aside if it would be in the team's best interest, making it more likely that we will not see an excessive number of minutes on the pitch from him."

Referee to use TMO 6 times in final Lions Test (6th July 2017)

After the television match official (TMO) was used for a red card offence in the British and Irish Lions Test against New Zealand last weekend, leading spread betting firm Sporting Index predicts that the square- box-signal will be given six times in the third and final Test match this weekend.

French referee Jerome Garces used TMO to spot a shoulder charge to the head of Lion Anthony Watson by All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams, leading to the sending off of the New Zealand man during Warren Gatland's side's win to level the series.

The third and final test match will be refereed by Frenchman Romain Poite, and Sporting Index's traders predict the man in the centre will signal for video assistance a total of six times in Auckland on Saturday.

Ed Fulton, trading spokesman for Sporting Index, said: "Jerome Garces was spot on with his decision to dismiss Sonny Bill Williams at the weekend using TMO, and our traders think we're yet to see more of the video evidence in this weekend's third and final Test - six times to be exact."

"It could be a bad omen for the Lions that the man with the whistle for Saturday's match is Romain Poite, and the All Blacks have won all eight matches they've had refereed by the Frenchman."

"Poite was embroiled in a TMO scandal when he used video evidence to give a yellow card to Dan Carter the All Blacks' 2013 Championship match against South Africa in Auckland, with the yellow subsequently rescinded by the International Rugby Board. So it'll certainly be interesting to see Poite's use of TMO this weekend as both teams go into the big event level at one match each."