British & Irish Lions defence coach Andy Farrell says his side learnt valuable lessons in Saturday’s win over the Reds but he isn’t expecting an easy ride when they take on a Combined New South Wales Queensland Country XV tomorrow.
The Lions withstood a barrage of attacks from a full-blooded Reds outfit to run out 22-12 victors in Brisbane, with Farrell happy with the defensive performance of his players a fortnight out from the first Test against the Qantas Wallabies.
“The game in general was very good for us. They asked a hell of a lot of questions, not just in one area but in many different departments,” said Farrell.
“That’s what good attacking rugby should be about really. Whether it’s through a kicking game, a passing game or a running game, there’s always one option on and they tried to manipulate us in many areas. They became successful on a few occasions so it was a brilliant test for us.
“At the start of a tour, when you’ve got a new side together, there’s only so much you can put in place. You learn as you go on and you keep adding stuff. There’s no better training than we had on Saturday, that’s for sure.”
Few are predicting that The Lions will face an equally tough test in Newcastle in their next outing but Farrell has reminded his men that any drop in intensity could still be punished, especially in the early stages.
The former dual code international wants the tourists to approach the game as if it was an international, although he admits that the main focus will be on their own performance rather than on what the opposition may or may not bring to the party.
“I wouldn’t say they’re going to be the weakest opposition,” added Farrell, ahead of the fourth game of the 10-match tour.
“For the 23 that are going to come against us, it’s probably going to be the biggest game of their lives.
“You can play against anyone and for the first 20/25 minutes it’s always going to be a battle. They will bring a lot of intensity and guts to the game.
“But having said that, the start of the tour was always going to be about us. It was always going to be about us getting our combinations right and getting our plan of how we want to move forward right.”