Lions 'implosion' drives Ben Alexander
October 30, 2013
Ben Alexander wants revenge against the British props on Australia's Grand Slam tour © Getty Images
Ben Alexander doesn't view the Wallabies' Grand Slam tilt as a chance to avenge their "implosion" against the British & Irish Lions, but the devastating defeat is fuelling his fire.
Almost four months have passed since Australia suffered their 41-16 third Test drubbing by the Lions in Sydney, a result that cost coach Robbie Deans his job, yet the hurt remains for many Wallabies; none more than Alexander, who carried much of the blame from the series decider after the Lions pack demolished the home scrum.
Enter the Autumn Internationals Fantasy Game © Scrum.com
Alexander was sin-binned after just 25 minutes, after a series of set-piece indiscretions as his direct opponent, Alex Corbisiero, dominated the scrums and scored the opening try in a Man-of-the-Match display at loose-head.
"After that third game I was devastated," Alexander said. "I was looking forward to that series for such a long time. To lose the series the way we did, especially after the first two games were so close and well fought, [hurts]. For all the hype around the third game and for us to implode the way we did was just disappointing. I think the pressure got to us. We were like dear in the headlights with the way we played that third Test."
Alexander has been denied a chance to gain personal revenge on Corbisiero when the Wallabies open their tour in the Test against England at Twickenham on Saturday as the Englishman has a knee injury. And he fared much better against Mako Vunipola, England's likely replacement at No.1, in the second Test win over the Lions in Melbourne.
Rugby World Cup 1991-winning prop Richard Harry believes Corbisiero's absence "will have a big effect ... that will be a positive for Australia" in the pivotal scrum battle, but Alexander pointed diplomatically to England's immense front-row depth to say the Wallabies would be in for a searching scrum test no matter the personnel.
Alexander denied the Grand Slam tilt could cover the deep wounds of the winter. "That arena has gone now and we'll never have the chance to beat the Lions," he said. "You just have to use it as fuel for the fire the next time there's a big occasion. You use that disappointment to train harder and prepare better."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown