The British and Irish Lions are on the brink of a historic test landmark as they line-up against Australia in Melbourne, knowing a victory will secure the first Lions test series win since 1997.
They enjoyed a 2-1 series victory over South Africa but sixteen fruitless years since has seen the Lions lose the last three tours in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
But The Lions were in the exact same position 12 years ago when they won the first match in Australia before the hosts won the next two matches to clinch the series.
The Lions continued their preparations for the crucial match by defeating the Melbourne Rebels 35-0 on Tuesday.
It was largely a second-string team set out by Warren Gatland but they didn’t disappoint with tries from Conor Murray, Sean Maitland, Sean O’Brien and ben Youngs securing the whitewash.
But the win keeps confidence high and ensures the hunger amongst the fringe players also remains high ahead of the second test on Saturday.
Approximately 30,000 Lions fans are expected to pack into the 52,000 capacity Etihad Stadium in Brisbane and will be eager to see their team tie up a series win.
But Lions coach Gatland has been busy tinkering with his squad following the narrow 23-21 victory in the first test last weekend and has made five changes ahead of the second game.
Irishman Tommy Bowe has made an impressive recovery from a broken hand he sustained at the start of the tour and comes in on the wing, replacing Alex Cuthbert.
Dan Lydiate replaces Tom Croft at centre, who drops to the bench whilst Ben Youngs is selected over Mike Phillips at scrum half.
The Lions will be without injured pair Paul O’Connell at lock and prop Alex Corbisiero who are replaced by Geoff Parling and Mako Vunipola.
In terms of team news for Australia, they are without injured full-back Berrick Barnes with Kurtley Beale replacing him at full-back.
Captain James Horwill starts after escaping punishment from an International Rugby Board appeal which cleared him of stamping or trampling following an incident in the first game when his boot came into contact with the head of Alun Wyn Jones.
Fly-half James O’Connor keeps his place in the starting XV despite struggling in the first test.
In terms of the betting odds, the Lions are favourite to secure the second test which would see them secure the tour win. Paddy Power are offering the best odds of 8/11 for a Lions win.
Stan James provide the best odds on Australia levelling the series by winning this match. They provide odds of 6/4.
Lions winger George North heads the first tryscorer charts with most bookies and Sportingbet are offering odds of 11/1.
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