Familiar faces for Faletau

Toby Faletau believes familiarity could help guide the 2013 British & Irish Lions to greatness on Saturday. [more]

Familiar faces for Faletau

Toby Faletau believes familiarity could help guide the 2013 British & Irish Lions to greatness on Saturday.

The Dragons No8 is one of six changes to the starting XV for the third-Test decider with the Qantas Wallabies in Sydney as the Lions look to bounce back from last week’s disappointment in Melbourne.

Faletau has finally broken Jamie Heaslip’s five-match run in the Lions Test No8 shirt having previously missed out by narrow margins in the first and second rubbers and now he is all set to produce the best performance of his career in his biggest game to date.

And while the fact that he has nine of his Welsh colleagues in the side with him has been much talked about already, it is the presence of club-mate Dan Lydiate and Ireland’s Sean O’Brien in the back row that could have the biggest impact for Faletau and for the Lions.

“It’s good as we are all familiar with each other. I’ve got a good relationship with Dan. We’ve played with each other a long time now and we know what each other’s games are,” said Faletau, who has packed down alongside O’Brien four times already on tour.

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“He brings the defence and that allows Sean and I to carry the ball more. It’s good that I’ll know what to do if Dan’s beside me: I’ll know what he’s going to do and what I do depends on that.

“Sean’s ball carrying’s been superb. We know what each other’s games are now as well. When he gets his hands on the ball, he’s likely to break a tackle. You just have to make sure you run off him.”

Running off O’Brien will be one target for Faletau but getting over the gainline from first phase will be another.

The tourists didn’t enjoy as much front-foot ball as they would have liked in Melbourne but the presence of Faletau, O’Brien and Jamie Roberts could help turn things around at the ANZ Stadium.  

“I think that will be important. The coaches want to take it to them physically and at the breakdown and they want us to look after the ball. That’s what we’ll look to do,” added Faletau.

“I think that’s what they’ve selected in this side. Sean’s a good carrier so that’s the intent, to get over the gainline using Sean and whoever else.

“I’ve had disappointments before but I’m just happy to be involved this weekend. My form has been okay, there’s been a few performances that weren’t up to scratch but it’s been a good tour, a good experience. It’s been great to come together with all the players from the other nations and it’s been good fun as well.

“This is the biggest game of my career so far. It’s the Lions and it’s a series decider and it will make a difference to a lot of things if we can win this game.”

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