Youngs will give Wallabies cause for concern
June 27, 2013
Lions scrum-half Ben Youngs (r) is likely to cause Will Genia more headaches tha Mike Phillips © Getty Images
The Wallabies have only one certain World XV starter in scrum-half Will Genia. And his impact on the British & Irish Lions Test series has already been glaringly revealed when he forced their coach Warren Gatland to re-jig his team.
Genia, while being the standout player of the Brisbane Test, exposed his Lions opposite Mike Phillips, who showed the effects of fighting off a knee injury when he was completely out-played by his opponent.
Not surprisingly Gatland dropped Phillips for Ben Youngs, and that is hardly encouraging news for the Wallabies.
Youngs is considerably more mobile and faster than Phillips, and is bound to put greater pressure on Genia. The rapid demise of Phillips is emphasised by him not even making the Lions bench, with Conor Murray instead the back-up No. 9.
It was blatantly clear in both the Lions-New South Wales Waratahs match in Sydney and the first Test that one of the opposition's prime focuses was restricting Phillips' impact. He was a constant target for the Waratahs and the Wallabies backrowers in both games, often getting a rough time at the bottom of rucks.
Youngs will be considerably harder to nab.
Russell Barwick and Greg Growden preview the second Lions Test
Also a new Lions back row, after the promotion of blindside flanker Dan Lydiate, will be given the directive of nullifying Genia.
While Paul O'Connell is an enormous loss for the Lions, they boast an excellent lock back-up in Geoff Parling and head into the Melbourne Test looking an assured line-up.
Tip: Lions by 5.
© ESPN Australia / New Zealand
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Paul Eddison explains how the French sold English clubs down the river and why their domestic game will go from strength to strength
'Nothing can prepare you for the noise of the Millennium Stadium though, you just can't hear anything." Tom Hamilton talks to Cory Allen