Wallabies coach confident ahead of decisive third test

Wallabies players insist they have been under par thus far and will rise to challenge today

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 July, 2013, 3:22am

Australia are confident they can fulfil their coach's prediction and produce their best performance of the series in the decisive third test against the British & Irish Lions today.

Robbie Deans said on Thursday he thought his team would be at their best in the crunch match at Sydney's Olympic Stadium and finish what has been an incredibly close series with an "emphatic" display.

The Wallabies scored two tries in the first test defeat through winger Israel Folau and the only try in their victory in the second match last week in Melbourne, but scrum half Will Genia felt they had not yet hit their stride.

"We're very confident," he said yesterday. "We can honestly say we haven't played our best footy throughout the series thus far and probably made too many errors to give ourselves an opportunity to play any sort of fast, flowing rugby.

"We were able to do that in the last 20-30 minutes in the test in Melbourne and the thing is we will take a lot of confidence out of that moving forward and we have to make sure that we start well.

"I think we have been chasing the game a little bit too much in the last two tests and playing off the back foot.

"So if we can start well and give ourselves a good opportunity to get into the game then we definitely back ourselves to play some good rugby."

Lions coach Warren Gatland has added fit-again prop Alex Corbisiero, a bigger hooker in Richard Hibbard, as well as the hulking number eight Toby Faletau and flanker Sean O'Brien in the back row for the decider.

Australia hooker Stephen Moore, who has been a rock at the scrum in the two tests so far, was anticipating another ferocious contest among the forwards.

"It's been a good battle," he said. "It's been tough at the set piece, that's for sure. We knew they'd come here to try and get some dominance in that area. We've worked on that.

"I think Corbisiero coming back in strengthens their scrum. Hibbard, I haven't played too much against him. He's a bigger guy than Tom Youngs. I think that's certainly not going to take away from their scrum at all.

"Sean O'Brien will certainly carry the ball a lot more, whereas Warburton is more of a breakdown threat. O'Brien poses a threat in his carrying as well as his defence and his breakdown stuff.

"With Faletau coming in there as well, the onus will be on him to carry it a lot."

Australia's backline was thrown together for the first test in Brisbane and although they have improved over the 160 minutes played so far, Genia's experience and command at halfback will again be vital to the home side's chances of winning.

The 25-year-old took a knock to his knee in the first test but, to the relief of the host nation, declared himself fully fit.

"No, my knee is fine," he said. "It gave me a bit of trouble after a bit of a knock in the first test. I had a lot time leading up to the second test of rest and physio to get it right. I haven't had any issues with it all week this week.

"If you look at both games so far, they've both been physical. There's not been many points scored, but there's been a lot of intent. Hence a lot of errors from our part last week, and I think their part as well."