DANGER MAN: The Lions gang up on the Wallabies' Israel Folau at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium last week.
DANGER MAN: The Lions gang up on the Wallabies' Israel Folau at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium last week. Getty Images

Wallabies set to tame Lions and run away with series

THE Wallabies should win tonight and claim the series win over the British and Irish Lions.

About the only thing that can stop them is a referee overly sympathetic to the Lions cause.

Australia has disrupted the Lions to such an extent that they resorted to 10 man footy last weekend and have had to chop and change significantly this weekend.

The Lions planned on dominating the set piece but Australia clearly won the points battle in scrum and lineout in the last game.

Now the Lions have thrown all their eggs in the one basket, relying on rumbling over the gain line behind centre Jamie Roberts and wingers George North and Tommy Bowe.

There are only two concerns for me with Australia.

How fit is George Smith after six weeks without a game of footy and James O'Connor.

O'Connor has proven himself not up to the requisite standard but he should improve this weekend given his relatively brief time in the Wallabies number 10 jersey.

He is much too predictable in attack.

From first phase he stands way too deep to ask serious questions of the defence.

When he's set to pass he telegraphs it by sliding sideways and his only alternative is to step back on the inside.

Both are easy to defend against.

O'Connor earned praise for delivering the pass that set up the match winner for Adam Ashley-Cooper last week.

But O'Connor was drifting sideways with the ball and it was only Ashley-Cooper's beautifully straightened run that made it a try.

The Aussies have won in spite of him at five-eighth.

Last week Lions skipper Sam Warburton won the battle of the opensides against Michael Hooper last weekend until he went off with the hamstring injury that ended his tour.

I thought his injury might give Australia, with Hooper, the advantage in the loose this weekend, which is why I see Smith as a slight risk.

The Wallabies bank on having more running in them in the last 20 minutes so bringing in a 34-year-old with no match fitness seemed a step backward, though it would not surprise to see his class erase any doubts.

Either way the Wallabies should win against what has been a fairly limited Lions side, George North and Sam Warburton aside.

That the Wallabies have been able to carry O'Connor and still win proves it.



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