Inside the Aussie camp

With the crucial second Test between the British & Irish Lions and the Qantas Wallabies now just hours away, we delve into the Australian camp to look at what their key men having been saying about today's must-win match up. [more]

Inside the Aussie camp

With the crucial second Test between the British & Irish Lions and the Qantas Wallabies now just hours away, we delve into the Australian camp to look at what their key men having been saying about today’s must-win match up.

We spoke to head coach Robbie Deans, captain James Horwill, centre Adam Ashley-Cooper, two-try wing Israel Folau and star scrum-half Will Genia to get their thoughts on what awaits the Lions in Melbourne.

Here’s what they had to say…

James Horwill

On bouncing back

Google Ad Manager – In Article

“The boys are keen to get back on a square peg and send it to game three in Sydney. Almost immediately after walking off the field the guys wanted to play again because, while we did some good things, there were probably some things that we left out there and that we can do better. The group has spoken about that all week: that from the moment we walked off we couldn’t wait for the next chance.”

On Geoff Parling replacing the injured Paul O’Connell

“Geoff Parling is a very good lineout forward. He’s shown that with England and he’s shown that on this tour. Losing Paul is a massive loss for them. He’s been excellent for them, probably one of their best players across the board – not only as a player but as an emotional leader for their team, you can see the guys really look to him. But Geoff’s played well this tour and I don’t think they’ll lose anything at lineout time.”

On James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale pictured out at 3.50am on Wednesday

“It’s not ideal, but in these kinds of weeks you don’t have a lot of time to address these things because there’s a potential for the focus to shift off the game. There’s no doubt that we need to address that but we need to get this series at the front of our mind and worry about how we’re going to win on Saturday first.”

Will Genia

On the Lions changes and facing Ben Youngs

“The Lions changes have been made based on form. The players who have come in, Ben Youngs, Dan Lydiate and Tommy Bowe, who is world-class, have come in because they have been exceptional and deserve an opportunity.

“They have been playing good rugby and they are rewarded. They are spoilt for choice in the three half-backs they have. Ben Youngs is probably a bit more of an attacking player. He is someone who likes to get away from the rucks, put players through holes and hold up defenders to create space out wide. We’ve definitely got our hands full coping with that threat on Saturday.

“I thought Mike Phillips played pretty well at the weekend. He’s big, likes to take the line on and he poses a threat like a ninth forward. Ben probably has a bit more skill than brute force. We’ve watched him all tour and he's been playing really, really well.”

On the return of Christian Lealiifano

“Christian was a loss. Paddy McCabe was not a like-for-like swap because he’s more direct, not a playmaker. Christian will take the pressure off James (O’Connor) and he will call things. I thought James played well and if that kick had gone over at the end, no one would have questioned anything.”

""

Will Genia will be looking to pull the strings for the Qantas Wallabies at the Etihad Stadium

Adam Ashley-Cooper

On an incredible atmosphere and knowing what to expect now

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to play these guys again this week. It was one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever experienced at Suncorp. It was a record crowd and I had goose bumps running out, and that hasn’t happened for a while. I’m looking forward to doing that all over again.

“It will be no different to game one: it’s going to be fast, it’s going to be physical; it’s going to be intense. That’s what Test-match footy is all about.”

On his side’s attacking threat

“It was a disappointing result but we can take a lot out of game one. We only had nine setpiece possessions to their 22 so we didn’t have much ball. We’re hoping to have a few more attacking opportunities this week. It would be nice to get the ball to Izzy (Folau) and Joey (Tomane) out on the edges and use the space out wide. There’s a lot of areas to be excited about. We’re not lacking any motivation in that regard.

“There’s potency in this backline and it would be rude not to use it. Christian (Lealiifano) has got the capability of not only ball running but also ball playing and that’s really unique and great for an inside centre, and for me playing outside him. We’ve got James O’Connor who is very clear in his role this week and determined to improve from game one, and we’ve got the inclusion of Joey, who’s a very exciting winger, very much like Israel. Izzy’s got that first game under his belt and it’s exciting to see what he can achieve in game two. Then there’s Kurtley Beale at the back, who had a great impact in the second half.

“The nerves and the build up have settled now and we certainly know what we’re going to encounter with what we encountered in game one. It’s about lifting the bar and raising the standards. We’ve had a really good preparation week and we’re clear, we’re really ready and we’re excited about the opportunity.” 

Israel Folau

On his dream debut and on more to come in the Second Test

“It’s been an exciting journey for me. I lived here in Melbourne for a couple of years while I was playing (rugby league) with the Storm and it’s great to be back here and to be a part of the game on Saturday night – it’s going to be huge.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better first game, but that’s done and dusted now and I’ll look forward to this Saturday. I’m really enjoying where I’m at at the moment. We know what we have to do and we’ll try and turn it on.

“I learnt a lot from game one. I’ve reviewed that game and saw a few opportunities that I missed that I can probably pick up for the second game…working a lot more with James (O’Connor) and the guys inside me to try and get my hands on the ball as much as I can. Most of the initiative will come from me in wanting to get my hands on the ball. Maybe I can sniff out a few more opportunities.”

""

Israel Folau will be looking for more of the same after scoring two superb tries last weekend

Robbie Deans

On not including George Smith in the matchday 23

“This is his first full week of training. He hasn’t been with us (prior to this week). He’ll be considered next week, but given the lack of background (we didn’t include him). He’s well ahead of schedule, but we’ve also got to be realistic with that in terms of re-entry. He’s well in advance of the prognosis, but that’s George: he’s a remarkable player, he’s a remarkable recoverer. He’s very resilient and he recovers very quickly. He’ll get a full week of training next week and then he becomes available to be considered for selection.

On whether Australia's comeback in 2001 will help his side’s chances

“We’ve talked about it through our preparation. We’ve seen a lot of the footage. That was then, though, this is now. The response will be owned by these blokes. That (the video footage) was advantageous…I don’t think the blokes were ambushed (in the first Test)  so to speak so it served its purpose there. They’ve got a good understanding of what they’re going back into, but the response will be very much owned by the playing group.

On whether beating England after being hammered by France last year will also help

“You can’t presume anything, you’ve got to earn everything at this level. I guess for those who were involved, that background experience will be helpful. But having been through it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again.”

Previous story Youngs brothers fifth in line
Next story Jones ready to step it up
Download