O’Connor: still our series

James O'Connor says the Qantas Wallabies will still win the three-match series with the British & Irish Lions despite losing yesterday's opening rubber in Brisbane. [more]

O’Connor: still our series

James O’Connor says the Qantas Wallabies will still win the three-match series with the British & Irish Lions despite losing yesterday’s opening rubber in Brisbane.

O’Connor and co were beaten 23-21 at the Suncorp Stadium as the Lions moved to within 80 minutes of a first series success since 1997 but O’Connor is adamant that the hosts will hit back in Melbourne and Sydney.

“This is still our series. I’m quietly confident. I’m confident that we can come back in Melbourne and make a massive turnaround and win this game,” said O’Connor who insisted he was happy enough with his own performance at fly-half but disappointed with his one from four return from the kicking tee.

“There’s not much in it. We know in ourselves that we can win this next game.

“I was pretty happy: we played the game how we wanted to. It was just a few little things, a few times with field position, a few kicks didn’t go our away and a couple of balls that we probably shouldn’t have offloaded but should have held in and recycled.

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“I won’t make excuses – I slipped up and didn’t have the best game with the boot. (Leigh) Halfpenny won that battle. In saying that, I don’t think it should have come down to that. I thought that when we did control the game and the ball, we played well.

“We saw some early touches from Izzy (Folau), Willie (Genia) made some good clean breaks and I thought we had some good front foot ball. But at the end of the day, we just didn’t get enough of it. We didn’t get enough of the ball in the right areas of the field.”

The Qantas Wallabies left the capital of Queensland nursing a host of injury worries after they lost debutant Christian Lealiifano inside a minute, full back Berrick Barnes before half time, replacement centre Pat McCabe just after the interval and fellow midfielder Adam Ashley-Cooper late on.

O’Connor admits that the disruptions didn’t help but insists the squad will simply have to grin and bear it if they want to keep the series alive at the Etihad Stadium in six days’ time.

“It is difficult. We haven’t been together long, we’ve been working on those combinations with myself, Christian and Barnesy, so to lose both of them pretty early was tough,” added O’Connor.

“But you can’t let that be the be all and end all. You’ve got to roll with the punches and it was a game like that. I thought (Michael) Hooper played well from 12 and when Kurtley (Beale) came on he made a difference.

“The big thing now is regrouping. We’ve got a lot of injuries, we’ve got to get on top of them and come back next week.”

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