Sport Rugby

Friday 23 February 2018

Three things the Lions must do to win

Conor George

Conor George

1 Win the breakdown

The Brumbies did a good job of deconstructing the Lions' game plan on Tuesday by winning the breakdown. They got to the ball first and shut down the Lions' expansive game. Paul O'Connell's influence will be massive. The Munster man has been turning over three or four balls every game. Sam Warburton must 'chop' the Australian ball-carrier at the legs and O'Connell must be on his shoulder ready to get over the ball. If either Michael Hooper or the man-mountain Kane Douglas get on top here it will spell disaster.

2  GET GENIA

When Will Genia plays well Australia invariably play well. Ireland showed how to negate the scrum-half's influence on a game during their Rugby World Cup meeting in 2011. Every time Genia (pictured) went to break he was wrapped up by Stephen Ferris. The Aussies were delighted not to see Ferris in the Lions squad. Genia has the potential to be the best player on the pitch and is very important to the Wallabies. Mike Phillips, Tom Croft and Jamie Heaslip have to snipe at him constantly and try to unbalance him. If they do they will gain an enormous advantage.

3  BE ACCURATE

The Lions have to be accurate out of touch. Their scrum has to be dominant. Their defence has to be clued in and they have to attack with precision. Defence coach Andy Farrell (pictured) reportedly went berserk in the dressing-room at half-time of the Brumbies match when he addressed the team for their poor defensive work. If they produce anything like that level of performance this morning, the Wallabies will slaughter them.

Everything they do has to be as close to perfection as possible. The Wallabies haven't played games but theirs is a team that is outrageously talented. They have few if any weaknesses. To come out on top the Lions need to be accurate in everything they do. They have to be better.

BETTING: Australia: 6/4 Draw: 25/1 Lions: 8/13

Handicap: Australia: 11/10 (+3.0) Draw: 16/1 (3) Lions: 10/11 (-3.0)

Irish Independent

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