Lions 2013: Andy Farrell believes decider will bring out best form

 

Defence coach Andy Farrell says the best is yet to come from the British and Irish Lions ahead of their final Test decider against Australia.

Farrell says the Lions will bounce back from their 16-15 second Test defeat.

"We have seen some very good performances, but hopefully you will see the best one at the last hurdle on Saturday," said the 38-year-old.

The Lions hope to have centre Jamie Roberts and prop Alex Corbisiero available for the final Test in Sydney.

Analysis

"The slight concern for the Lions is I am not sure where we are generating any momentum or breaking any of the Australian defence, who looked pretty comfortable for most of the game.

"We don't have the power players in the backs and we are still trying to play the power game. That seems to be where we have come unstuck. It will be fascinating to see who is fit for the final game and what the tactics are.

"I think we are going to have to be a little bit more creative and play with a bit more variety to win this series."

Farrell believes the emotional toll of Saturday's nail-biting second Test at the Etihad Stadium could affect Australia in the decider.

"It was do or die and you could see how much it meant to Australia, especially their captain [James Horwill], just to stay in the race," said the former Saracens coach.

"How much that took out of them will be interesting to find out."

Farrell said Roberts and Corbisiero will "train hard" on Monday, when the Lions are also expecting the results of a scan on captain Sam Warburton's injured hamstring.

Roberts has missed the first two Tests after tweaking a hamstring against New South Wales Waratahs on 15 June.

Corbisiero impressed in the opening win over Australia but a calf strain saw him miss Saturday's loss in Melbourne.

If the worst fears around the captain's participation are confirmed, the tourists will make at least three changes, possibly more, for the final Test.

Corbisiero is likely to reclaim the loose-head starting berth from Mako Vunipola, while Roberts - as well as Manu Tuilagi - will come into the midfield equation.

Either Sean O'Brien or Justin Tipuric would replace Warburton, with scrum-half Mike Phillips also fit to resume after an injection in his troublesome knee last week.

Wing George North was also reported to be "fine" after receiving treatment for a blow to the neck, while hooker Tom Youngs said a back spasm he suffered had settled down after "a lot of drugs" from the Lions doctor.

Lions down under 2013

Roberts and Corbisiero will attempt to prove their fitness while the rest of the squad enjoy two days off at their Sunshine Coast base in Noosa, Queensland, having travelled north from Melbourne on Sunday.

Farrell conceded that Australia deserved to win the second Test but denied the Wallabies now had the psychological advantage.

"We were lucky in the first game to get away with the win, and we could have won the second game, so I suppose you could say 1-1 is a fair way to look at it," he said.

"It is all on for the last one now. We have a couple of days off to lick our wounds before getting back into it.

"Everyone is aware of the size of the task and what is at stake. We all realise it is the biggest game of our lives.

"It was a do-or-die situation for Australia and they rose to the challenge. I thought they were deserved winners. But it was a one-point game, it could have gone either way and I think both teams will be confident going into next week.

"Big-game players normally produce when it counts, and it counts no more so than this weekend."

Farrell said he expected Leigh Halfpenny, who missed a long-range penalty from nearly 55m that would have won the series for the Lions with the last kick of the game, to suffer no ill effects from the missed opportunity.

"Leigh is a perfectionist," he added. "He is a little bit hurt but it would have been a miracle really if that kick had gone over. It was a hell of a long way out.

"He asks a lot of himself and the way he has been kicking, he would expect it to go over. But he had an excellent kicking game again."