Lynagh expects Wallabies backs to shine
June 28, 2013
Michael Lynagh believes Kurtley Beale and his fellow playmakers will cause the Lions problems © Getty Images
IRB World Cup-winning fly-half Michael Lynagh believes there have been sleepless nights in the British & Irish Lions camp worrying about the Wallabies' three-pronged playmaking threat at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Saturday night.
Australia's former record-breaking point-scorer, Lynagh is confident Robbie Deans' men will take the huge three-Test series to a decider in Sydney next weekend after overcoming the backline carnage of their 23-21 first Test loss.
Despite losing pivotal back Christian Lealiifano in the opening exchanges, as well as Pat McCabe and Berrick Barnes by the 46-minute mark, the home side would have stolen a win at the death with a successful Kurtley Beale penalty attempt at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Lealiifano's recovery from a head knock allows the Wallabies to carry out their original plans of using the inside-centre to pull the strings in attack.
With fly-half James O'Connor, who struggled in his second Test start at No.10, and fullback Kurtley Beale also able ball-players, Lynagh thinks Deans may have produced a masterstroke.
"I think all three will interchange and at different phases will be the first users of the ball, and I think that makes it quite dangerous," he told AAP.
As the Wallabies still managed to give the Lions defence headaches through the brilliance of Will Genia and Israel Folau in Brisbane, the former Wallabies captain said the tourists would be concerned.
"That causes sleepless nights for defensive coaches when you have all these great players roaming around," Lynagh said. "Then there is (winger Joe) Tomane coming in, he has been playing really well for the Brumbies, and Folau is scary to them and Beale scares them also."
George Gregan and Gavin Hastings preview the second Test
Lynagh sympathised with utility O'Connor, who was heavily criticised for his unconvincing playmaking effort.
"I think it's a little unfair and I know what it's like when you lose your centre partner ... it's not easy," he said. "I think he would be better off for the experience."
Lynagh, who played in all three Tests against the 1989 Lions when Australia gave away a 1-0 series lead, said the Wallabies could take plenty out of the Brisbane loss.
"I just felt with all the disruption they had in the game they did very very well to be in touch and have the chance to win the game."
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton
Cards, kicks, slips and scores: It's The Week in Pictures, the finest snaps from the last seven days of rugby
Huw Richards Rewinds to 1975 when three Welsh legends were handed their debuts and assesses their legacy
Seven places in the Champions Cup quarter-finals are up for grabs; we break down the permutations for each group in the final round of matches