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Outgunned but all is not lost for Australian rugby

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Wallabies mauled by Lions

The British and Irish Lions beat the Wallabies 16-41 in their biggest-ever win in a Test.

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It was billed as the Wallabies' biggest game  since the 2003 World Cup final. It started with an error reminiscent of Quade Cooper's kick out on the full in the World Cup semi-final against the All Blacks two years ago.

On small things a game can change. Will Genia's knock-on after a kick-off mix-up allowed the British and Irish Lions to not only be on the front foot but plant it well and truly on the Wallabies' throat. The Lions couldn't score a try in 80 minutes in Melbourne, but on the back of Genia's error they needed only 80 seconds for Alex Corbisero to crash over. Ominously, the English loose-head prop was to cause greater damage in the scrum.

It was a pressure that was not eased on the Wallabies until James O'Connor sidestepped his way past tiring Lions defenders after the half-time siren. The footwork of the five-eighth was part of Robbie Deans' plan to combat the

Pressure cooker: The Wallabies couldn't handle the Lions early pressure.

Pressure cooker: The Wallabies couldn't handle the Lions early pressure. Photo: Getty Images

slabs of Red meat – trailing 19-10 at the break was not.

In the intervening 39 minutes, the Wallabies' scrum resembled Barangaroo. Currently a demolition site but soon to be a building where the odds are stacked against all comers. Every scrum feed in the first half was a gamble for the Wallabies and it was the Lions who walked away with the chips.

In the 25th minute, tight-head prop Ben Alexander was sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements. He was effectively given an early shower by referee by Romain Poite. Alexander was not seen after his allotted 10 minutes.

Lions player Jonathon Sexton with actor Daniel Craig. Click for more photos

Lions triumph in Third Test

Wallabies v Irish and British Lions third test clash at Sydney's ANZ Stadium. Selected images available from Follow us at Photo: Jonathan Carroll

Deans has been criticised for being too ponderous with his use of replacements, but in the front-row department he has been a hard marker.

Al Baxter's career ended abruptly at the same venue in 2009 after he conceded one free kick too many in the firsthalf against the All Blacks.

Alexander was himself subbed off against France in Paris in 2010 after he was a shown a yellow card and conceded a penalty try. On that occasion it led to a remarkable turnaround with the Wallabies scoring 46 points in the final 30 minutes. The Wallabies threatened a similar turnaround on Saturday night. Christian Lealiifano's faultless kicking got the Australians back within three points but it was as close as they would get.

The Lions, to their credit, had learnt their lessons from Melbourne. They tried not to lose the second Test, preferring to play for field position and sweat on mistakes. It was more chess than rugby. On Saturday night, they went for the win and three thrilling tries in the second-half confirmed their supremacy.

As disappointing as the result was for the Wallabies, Australia rugby was still a winner on Saturday night. The Lions have bought relevance to a code that struggles for attention in the shadow of dominant domestic football codes and a rejuvenated world game.

Relevance will not save Deans only results.

55 comments so far

  • All is lost. That was awful. I am considering giving up rugby

    Date and time
    July 06, 2013, 10:45PM
    • Come on Aussies just because you lost don't give up on the sport. I'm welsh and have experienced dark days in rugby, you shouldn't give up on the sport. It's the challenge to get the kids playing and come back stronger!!!

      Ade chapman
      Date and time
      July 07, 2013, 5:33PM
    • I can't stand 'fair weather fans' so bugger off!

      Date and time
      July 07, 2013, 9:55PM
    • Ade chapman -
      response to your comment -

      My son 8years old had a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch the wallabies train last Tuesday and the "arrogant, JOC" immediately requested that a bunch of 8 year olds "in awe" as you say "kids" could not take any photos -

      Aussie rugby needs to get rid of these arrogant youngsters who have talent but more attitude - hopefully the next coach will get rid of this as the older players are sick and tired of it -

      for those Wanna Be Wallabies - you have NO place in the squad:
      That's all 3 of you :
      James O'Conner
      Kurtley Beale
      Quade Cooper

      Give real players with 80% talent and 100% dedication a go
      JAKE WHITE - YOU HAVE MY 100% Support

      Date and time
      July 08, 2013, 12:16AM
    • look lads if yr players all wore black jerseys with silver ferns, yu would of smashed the Lions, yes that's right boys the Lions have never beaten the Blacks in a Test series, and probably never will, I suppose that would be their Ultimate mission, plus they need all the James Bond's to help them..., Suck it up Boys The World Champions are Coming For your Lot

      who's winning
      Date and time
      July 08, 2013, 6:59AM
    • @ who's winning.... Pal, how wrong can you be. The All Blacks have lost a test series to the Lion's. It was back in 1971. I was in attendance at Eden Park for the last test against the Lion's that was, from memory, drawn 17-17, with the Lion's coming from behind with a massive dropped goal from half way by the magnificent fullback, J.P.R.Williams. Going into that particular test, the All Black's were 2-1 down in the series. The All Black's that day were captained by Colin Mead's in his last game in an All Black jersey, the N.Z. fullback that day was Laurie Mains. That particular Lion's team was full of stars, like Gareth Edwards, Andy Irvine and to some extent, Barry John, and was coached by Carwyn James. I am pretty sure Mike Gibson and Willie John McBride were there too.

      Date and time
      July 08, 2013, 10:34AM
    • @Bones - it looks like you're getting your wish judging by the Rebels' decision not to offer JOC a contract for 2014. It seems that people are finally standing up to these 'superstars' and their unreasonable demands and poor conduct (if true, the reports about Beale and JOC missing their team bus to training on the day of the final BIL test must really have been the final straw). And, if it gives your son any comfort at all, rumour has it that the three amigos are pretty unpopular with the other players too - so JOC's arrogant behaviour shouldn't be regarded as indicative of all Australian rugby players.

      Date and time
      July 08, 2013, 11:33AM
    • Following the Wallabies can be that frustrating.
      What I don't understand is that no matter who coaches them, they continue to make continual fundamental mistakes and have for the past 6years or more said well, "we have to get better at the fundamental things"- well they haven't.
      This has been compounded by picking the wrong players and /or picking them in the wrong positions. it took Dingo two years to give Mowen a go and he was one of our best.

      We only had two serious fullbacks in the country and one of them was Mogg - when he finally got the nod it was too late. I mean seriously, regradless of his service , why would you pick a player out of position (Barnes) instead of one who is faster than the wind, breaks defenses, has a great great kick and who is fearless in defence? [ Mind you McKenzie gave the other good foolback Morahan not game time either]

      Why pick a five eight that wasn't and isn't a five eight when we had two who were; Toomua and Cooper.

      We dont have any centres who would set a firecracker alight, so we need to find one - why not have played Folau there?

      We couldn't turn over a rock let alone a ball so where was Liam Gill the most successful ball pilferer of the year?

      We are not direct,hungry or brutal and yet where was Hugh McMeniman ?

      Now we have to wait 12 years to get even, bugger!

      Date and time
      July 08, 2013, 3:01PM
  • Right from the getgo they played like they backed the other side.

    Board Odds
    Macquarrie Pass
    Date and time
    July 06, 2013, 10:54PM
    • Maaaaaaaaaaaaaate you're dreamin! The next few years are going to test the loyalty of even the ardent of Wallaby supporters. It's also going to test your ability as a scribe, having to find positives where there are NONE!

      Date and time
      July 06, 2013, 11:40PM

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