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Horwill - we'll win


James Horwill. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

James Horwill. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

James Horwill. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Australia captain James Horwill (pictured) believes the Wallabies will make the most of a career highlight by taming the British and Irish Lions.

The hosts have been installed as underdogs for the three-Test series that begins at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium tomorrow morning and concludes in Sydney on July 6.

It has been 12 years since Australia last faced the Lions, winning the series 2-1, and Horwill has stressed the importance of making the most of an event that is unique in modern rugby.

"I think we're going to win, I don't know what the bookies say, but I believe we'll win," the Reds second row said.

"It's right up there, a once-in-a-career opportunity and we're certainly aware of how big it is.

"A World Cup is the pinnacle of the game because you're coming up against the best, but this would have to be a close second.

"The build-up of the traditional tour, where you are playing games against provinces, is something that is unique to the Lions these days."

Australia have spoken all week about the storm they are expecting in the opening exchanges at the Suncorp Stadium and Horwill took up the theme at the eve-of-match press conference.


"The early collisions are going to be very critical. We understand the Lions play a very physical brand of rugby," the 28-year-old said.

"We've seen throughout the games leading up to this one that they've been very confrontational. It's up to us to match that up front and take the ascendancy there.

"You have to make sure you work hard because in games of this magnitude there's not a lot in it.

"Everyone across both teams is incredibly skilful so it will come down to work rate.

"In a fixture like this the margins are going to be very small so you have to take your opportunities when they come because there won't be many."

Horwill will come face to face with Ireland second row Paul O'Connell, a veteran of two previous Lions tours, in one of the match's most important duels.

"Paul's a big part of their team, a guy they turn to. He's experienced and has played on Lions tours before," Horwill said.

"We're certainly aware of his capabilities. He's had some time off due to injury but has come back rejuvenated and has been playing some great rugby.

"We're very wary of his capabilities around the ground and at the line-out. He's been very influential at the breakdown in a number of games in this tour."