Maori All Blacks vs British and Irish Lions: International rugby live scores, blog

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    We have reached the halfway point of the British and Irish Lions tour as they play what could be called the unofficial fourth Test against the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua. Join The Roar from 5:35pm (AEST) for live scores and coverage.

    Both sides have named powerful line-ups, the Maori going all out to add a second Lions scalp to their impressive history while the Lions look to give their likely Test side a hit out before the first match against the All Blacks in Auckland.

    The home side features a powerful backline, but some questions may remain over a few of their stars match fitness after playing little Super Rugby this season. Matt Procter, Nehe Milner Skudder and Charlie Ngatai all have only returned to the field in recent times, but there is no question of their quality and if the Lions execute their kicking options poorly, this Maori side will take full advantage.

    The forwards for the Maori side feature a mix experience and some of the potential future stars of New Zealand rugby, but the Lions will certainly favour themselves in the second row. The dynamic English duo of Maro Itoje and George Kruis match up against the Highlander pair of Joe Wheeler and Tom Franklin though as we saw in the Highlanders match last Tuesday, the underdog can never be underestimated.

    In a blow for the Lions, Owen Farrell, their star first five who was surprisingly named on the bench at the team announcement has had to withdraw from the match with a quad injury, replaced by Dan Biggar on the bench.

    With many suggesting he was to be a certain starter, his potential unavailability shapes as a blow to the Lions, not just tonight but for the remainder of the tour and the pressure will mount on Jonny Sexton to show his undoubted form after some patchy performances of late.

    Prediction
    I am picking this Lions side to be too desperate to win, especially after the Highlanders loss earlier in the week and the need to build momentum before the first test. My tipping has been woeful though.

    Lions by 6.

    Join The Roar from 5:35pm (AEST) for live coverage and feel free to leave your thoughts on the action below.

    A Rotundity and happy ex hooker who just loves Rugby really, oh and my kids and Kendra of course who lets me watch as much Rugby as I want, mostly. Follow Digby Ross on Twitter @Diggercane.

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