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The Lions Have Landed: Can The Aussies Hear The Roar?

li17 days out from the 1st test in Brisbane we take at look at how the Wallabies are looking and the general feeling towards the tour down under. I spent over two years living in the sport-obsessed country and to say they don’t like to lose would be an understatement. AFL is the number one sport in Australia with cricket coming second, rugby league third and rugby union fourth. Don’t get me wrong even with its lower standing it is funded equally and followed religiously in certain corners of Queensland and New South Wales. Both these states are gripped by the yearly state of origin series, a best of 3 combat between the best Rugby League players representing their birth state.

Living in Australia you would not know the Lions tour was on the horizon unless you followed the sport although with the tourists now landed my sources tell me the media and general Aussie public are starting to take notice. The players, management and media seem to be taking a similar stance on the Lions, big physical team hoping to bruise a route to victory by whatever means necessary. It wouldn’t be Australia though without that self-belief and confidence at succeeding no matter what sport and what opposition. They expect to beat the Lions but are visibly worried not just due to the strength and depth of this Lions party but also to their own injuries and unrest. Scott Higginbotham is the latest star wallaby to fall victim to injury, David Pocock and lock Timani other notable absentees. Throw in the self-exile of the talented Kurtney Beale, doubts over Digby Ioane and George Smith and selection dilemma on Quade Cooper and this seems a nation in distress. But injuries happen and you have to get on with it and a team of Australia’s stature this should not be a problem.

It’s no coincidence that the form teams in the Super 15’s these past few weeks have been Australian producing results above them on first reflection. Every Australian rugby player wants a victory over the Lions on their CV and will not lie down easily. They still have two ultra effective No 7’s in Liam Gill and Michael Hooper to choose from along with the possible the most exciting back in world rugby in James O Connor, a quality lock in James Horwill and the best scrum-half in the world in Will Genia. Outside of this they will be competitive in every other position making this tour a close run affair. The Lions will have to keep Genias involvement to a minimum. Having watched the Lions so far I can see them winning the breakdown (now such a vital part of the game) denying Genia ball and with that gaining forward momentum to supply our backs the ball to do the damage and win the series. There will be drama aplenty and twists and turns along the way but the Aussies are very beatable and the Lions must remember this, stick to their game plan not getting involved in any sideshows, ignore the slowly loudening local media and they will have the victory albeit with sore bodies on the flight home in a month’s time. ROAR

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