Deans expecting Wallabies thriller

Australian coach believes team will produce their 'best performance' ahead of series showdown against Lions.

    Deans expecting Wallabies thriller
    Deans has called up open-side flanker George Smith to shore up his team [GETTY]

    Coach Robbie Deans said Thursday he is expecting his Wallabies to produce their best performance in the series-deciding Test against the British and Irish Lions this weekend.

    Everything is set for a tantalising finale after the Wallabies levelled the series with a gripping 16-15 win last weekend in Melbourne, denying the Lions who were poised for their first series victory in 16 years.

    Deans said he believes it is all coming together for the Australians after the injury-ravaged 23-21 opening loss in Brisbane almost a fortnight ago.

    "This will be our best performance, without a doubt. I think that's been coming," Deans told a press conference.

    "If you look at the second Test, we started to get some rhythm. Combinations started to kick in. The Lions will intend to deny us that momentum, ball that we can use.

    "There's no doubt about that. But either way, this will be our best performance."

    Improvement

    Deans said he was witnessing a gradual improvement in his squad over the last week after the Wallabies scored the only try in last week's gruelling second Test win.

    "You can see the understanding, the rhythm. And it's not surprising. Last week was the first occasion that our back three had ever played together. You can't expect them to fly first outing," he said.

    "It's a new game, a new circumstance. And how the teams respond to the winner-takes-all context will be a big part of it."

    Deans has called on the 110-Test match experience of open-side flanker George Smith to shore up his team, citing the benefit of fresh legs and composure in what is shaping as another attritional battle for the 80 minutes.

    "It has been a tough series - the first two games have been rugged, especially at the breakdown, and we feel that the combination of experience and fresh legs that George brings is the right way to go," he said.

    "His expertise in the contact zone, where timing, judgement and physicality is everything, is going to be critical.

    "Being able to call on George allows us to lighten the load on Michael Hooper while retaining the ability to inject him into what is sure to be a fast-paced and highly physical contest.

    "I certainly hope that we can conclude this series emphatically."

    SOURCE: AFP


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