Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Lions haven't peaked yet - Farrell

21st June 2013 13:52


SKY_MOBILE Andy Farrell

Excited: Andy Farrell

British and Irish Lions assistant coach Andy Farrell insists his side are ready to go to a previously unseen level on the tour when the first Test against Australia gets underway.

Saturday's Brisbane opener will be the seventh game of the tour so far for Warren Gatland's troops, the Lions having won five and lost one of their first six.

That first reversal came on Tuesday against the Brumbies in Canberra, a defeat that many fear might have derailed their momentum coming into the Test series.

But according to Farrell the Lions, whose most impressive result of the tour so far saw them put the Waratahs to the sword last weekend, are still yet to peak Down Under.

"You train together for six weeks and you have a plan, but you hold a few things back and you don't show everything you've got," he said.

"We aren't stupid: there is always going to be a plan there and we have to get our own house in order.

"Over the last six weeks we have done a lot of learning. There has been a progression, but we haven't wanted to show everything first up - there are three tests to come yet.

"We realise what all the hard work over the past six weeks has been for. It is coming about tomorrow and you can tell it is Test week by the buzz about the place.

"There is an excitement among the players and an intensity in the way that they are training.

"Their work ethic both on and off the training field is at a different level and it has certainly been a great week so far."

Australia's starting XV includes three debutants: Israel Folau, a former rugby league international who also played Australian football before switching to union, starts at right wing.

Christian Leali'ifano gets the nod over Pat McCabe at inside centre, while Ben Mowen starts at blind-side flanker.

But it is scrum-half Will Genia that Farrell has pinpointed as the chief threat to his side's chances of a series win.

"We all know the threat of Will Genia and that he is a world class player," he added.

"We all know the playmakers they have picked in their side and the ball carriers they have in the forwards.

"Folau is some talent: he seems to find a way of getting his hands free and off loading the ball and making things happen.

"They have threats all over the field, but it is how you dictate your defence to the opposition to not let them be as comfortable as they want to be. That's what we have been focussing on.

"At the end of the day, when it comes down to big games, everyone knows what it takes to win - it's physicality, it's energy, it's a want to get on top of your opposition, and it won't be any different whatsoever."