JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Gatland's tourists cooking up perfect preparation for first Test

Paul OConnell in action. Click for more photos

Ruthless Lions maul Waratahs

Warren Gatland's men hit another gear in Sydney as they dominated the brave Tahs. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

The raw slabs of red meat are warming up. Much has been said about how undercooked the British and Irish Lions are with the first Test against the Wallabies in Brisbane just a week away, but they need not worry.

Preparation is the least of their concerns. In the space of seven days, fired-up Waratahs and Reds have attacked the Lions in swarms. They have done so with an intensity, if not quality, that is the equal of many Test matches.

The scoreline may have been lopsided, but it certainly beats the opposed training sessions that Robbie Deans' men have been facing in training camps from Coogee to Caloundra.

Not many international teams have to face a 135-kilogram second-row forward charging into the defensive line. The Lions will be thankful they do not have to contend with a player the size of Will Skelton this week as the Tahs forward eats metres like a minotaur devours maidens.

The Wallabies will not play like the Tahs and Reds. The ball will be more on foot and less in hand, and penalty goals will not be eschewed. But there was much to learn from the pivots on Saturday night.

Waratahs No.10 Bernard Foley is in a similar mould to James O'Connor. The biggest threat both players offer is footwork.

For the first 20 minutes, Foley was content to lay off to bigger runners in midfield, but once the Lions forwards were tired and caught out wide, he attacked the line.

O'Connor will do the same in Brisbane, except he is a stronger runner in contact and will have Will Genia on the inside and Kurtley Beale running off either shoulder. Used judiciously, it's a dangerous cocktail.

The playmaker role has been a problem for the Lions ,more so for the scarcity of stocks than the relative inexperience of Ireland's Jonathan Sexton and Englishman Owen Farrell. Sexton has the inside run. He controlled the first 50 minutes before coach Warren Gatland pulled out the cotton wool. There was nothing flashy but it was solid. It's a gear Quade Cooper could use from time to time.

Sexton comes to these shores with a big reputation. The Irishman's game is expected to flourish with better players inside and out, but potential is a nebulous notion.

Sexton will have one advantage over O'Connor next week, his teammates will be better prepared than the Wallabies.

3 comments so far

  • Wow 398 words? I feel I should add something to this article.. We Northern Hemisphere chaps need a bit more to digest, what?

    Commenter
    EnglishLion
    Date and time
    June 16, 2013, 3:13AM
    • What is the thinking behind the Wallabies not playing any warm up matches leading into a test series that only occurs once every 12 years? We could even play some of the depleted Super teams as the Lions are. Sure you risk injuries, but the advantage of tested combinations in live play leading into such quality opposition is critical - plus it would solidify the best choices for each position. I think we'll start hitting our stride around the third test but it may be all over by then!

      Commenter
      Cold
      Date and time
      June 16, 2013, 7:47AM
      • "Sexton will have one advantage over O'Connor next week, his teammates will be better prepared than the Wallabies." Yes, an advantage that Robbie Deans has given them - free of charge.

        Commenter
        Roger
        Date and time
        June 16, 2013, 8:51AM

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        Related Coverage

        Super Rugby 2015

        Round 1
        Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
        CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
        BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
        Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
        LIO 8vs HUR 22 Report Stats
        BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
        SHA 29vs CHT 35 Report Stats
        BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
        WAR 13vs FOR 25 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
        REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
        Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
        BUL 13vs HUR 17 Report Stats
        HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
        RED 18vs FOR 6 Report Stats
        Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
        STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
        SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
        HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
        FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
        Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
        CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
        CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
        REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
        Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
        LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 17vs HIG 20 Report Stats
        BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
        Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BLU 10vs LIO 13 Report Stats
        RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
        STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
        HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
        FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
        Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
        HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
        RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
        Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
        STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
        CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
        HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
        REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
        Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
        Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
        SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
        WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
        HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
        RED 17vs LIO 18 Report Stats
        Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 37vs CHT 27 Report Stats
        HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
        WAR 23vs BLU 11 Report Stats
        Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
        SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
        BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
        HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
        REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
        Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
        CHF 23vs BLU 16 Report Stats
        BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
        Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
        SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
        LIO 22vs BUL 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
        BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
        Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRU 20vs HIG 25 Report Stats
        WAR 18vs STO 32 Report Stats
        FOR 15vs CHT 24 Report Stats
        Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
        LIO 23vs SHA 21 Report Stats
        BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRU 9vs CHF 26 Report Stats
        Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
        HUR 24vs WAR 29 Report Stats
        HIG 30vs BLU 24 Report Stats
        BRU 8vs REB 13 Report Stats
        FOR 6vs STO 13 Report Stats
        Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
        SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
        CHT 17vs RED 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
        CHF 35vs FOR 27 Report Stats
        BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
        Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
        WAR 18vs REB 16 Report Stats
        Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
        LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
        STO 15vs BUL 13 Report Stats
        RED 19vs HUR 35 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
        HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
        BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
        Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
        BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
        HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
        REB 16vs CHF 15 Report Stats
        Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
        CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
        BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
        CRU 58vs RED 17 Report Stats
        REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
        Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
        HUR 32vs SHA 24 Report Stats
        FOR 18vs WAR 11 Report Stats
        LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
        STO 25vs BRU 24 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        BLU 23vs BUL 18 Report Stats
        RED 46vs REB 29 Report Stats
        Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        HUR 22vs CHF 18 Report Stats
        WAR 33vs SHA 18 Report Stats
        Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
        LIO 20vs BRU 30 Report Stats
        CHT 24vs HIG 45 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
        CHF 34vs BUL 20 Report Stats
        RED 14vs SHA 21 Report Stats
        Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        BLU 5vs HUR 29 Report Stats
        WAR 32vs CRU 22 Report Stats
        FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
        Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        CHT 17vs LIO 40 Report Stats
        STO 31vs REB 15 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        CRU 35vs HUR 18 Report Stats
        BRU 22vs BUL 16 Report Stats
        Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        SHA 25vs REB 21 Report Stats
        HIG 36vs CHF 9 Report Stats
        FOR 10vs RED 32 Report Stats
        Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
        STO 42vs CHT 12 Report Stats
        LIO 27vs WAR 22 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
        HUR 56vs HIG 20 Report Stats
        FOR 20vs BRU 33 Report Stats
        Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        REB 21vs BUL 20 Report Stats
        BLU 11vs CRU 34 Report Stats
        RED 3vs CHF 24 Report Stats
        CHT 33vs WAR 58 Report Stats
        Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        STO 19vs LIO 19 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
        BLU 7vs HIG 44 Report Stats
        REB 11vs FOR 13 Report Stats
        Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        BRU 24vs CRU 37 Report Stats
        CHF 13vs HUR 21 Report Stats
        WAR 31vs RED 5 Report Stats
        Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        BUL 29vs CHT 42 Report Stats
        SHA 34vs STO 12 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Super Rugby Qualifying Finals
        Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        HIG 24vs CHF 14 Report Stats
        Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        STO 19vs BRU 39 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Super Rugby Semi Finals
        Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        HUR 29vs BRU 9 Stats
        WAR 17vs HIG 35 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Super Rugby Grand Final
        Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        HUR 14vs HIG 21 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Super Rugby 2015
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D +/- Pts
        Hurricanes 16 14 2 0 170 66
        Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
        Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
        Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
        Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
        Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
        Chiefs 16 10 6 0 73 48
        Bulls 16 7 9 0 9 38
        View all
         

        Follow Us on Facebook

        Featured advertisers