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Australia confident of series win over the Lions

Updated: Friday, 05 Jul 2013 10:20 | Comments

Can Australia match talk with a positive outcome in their favour in Sydney?
Can Australia match talk with a positive outcome in their favour in Sydney?

Australia are confident they can fulfil their coach's prediction and produce their best performance of the series in the decisive third test against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.

Robbie Deans said on Thursday he thought his team would be at their best in the crunch match at Sydney's Olympic Stadium and finish what has been an incredibly close series with an "emphatic" display.

The Wallabies scored two tries in the first test defeat through winger Israel Folau and the only try in their victory in the second match last week in Melbourne but scrumhalf Will Genia felt they had not yet hit their stride.

"We're very confident," he told reporters on Friday.

"We can honestly say we haven't played our best footy throughout the series thus far and probably made too many errors to give ourselves an opportunity to play any sort of fast, flowing rugby.

"We were able to do that in the last 20-30 minutes in the test in Melbourne and the thing is we will take a lot of confidence out of that moving forward and we have to make sure that we start well.

"I think we have been chasing the game a little bit too much in the last two tests and playing off the back foot.

"So if we can start well and give ourselves a good opportunity to get into the game then we definitely back ourselves to play some good rugby and really have a go."

Key to getting front foot ball will be the Wallabies pack continuing to at least hold their own against their Lions counterparts both at the set piece and the breakdown.

"I think we have been chasing the game a little bit too much in the last two tests and playing off the back foot" - Robbie Deans

Lions coach Warren Gatland has added fit-again prop Alex Corbisiero, a bigger hooker in Richard Hibbard, as well as the hulking number eight Toby Faletau and flanker Sean O'Brien in the back row for the decider.

Australia hooker Stephen Moore, who has been a rock at the scrum in the two test so far, was anticipating another ferocious contest among the forwards.

"It's been a good battle," he said. "It's been tough at the set piece, that's for sure.

"We knew they'd come here to try and get some dominance in that area. We've worked on that. Once again the pack they've picked tomorrow indicates that's where they intend to come.

"I think Corbisiero coming back in strengthens their scrum, for sure.

"Hibbard, I haven't played too much against him. He's a bigger guy than Tom Youngs. I think that's certainly not going to take away from their scrum at all.

"Sean O'Brien will certainly carry the ball a lot more, whereas Warburton is more of a breakdown threat. O'Brien poses a threat in his carrying as well as his defence and his breakdown stuff.

"With Faletau coming in there as well, the onus will be on him to carry it a lot."

Australia's backline was thrown together for the first test in Brisbane and although they have improved over the 160 minutes played so far, Genia's experience and command at halfback will again be vital to the home side's chances of winning the series.

The 25-year-old took a knock to his knee in the first test but, to the relief of the host nation, declared himself fully fit for what he expects to be another intense test.

"No, my knee is fine," he said. "It gave me a bit of trouble after a bit of a knock in the first test. I had a lot time leading up to the second test of rest and physio to get it right.

"It's all paid off. I haven't had any issues with it all week this week. I feel really good.

"I expect it to be a really tough contest. If you look at both games so far, they've both been physical. There's not been many points scored, but there's been a lot of intent.

"Hence a lot of errors from our part last week, and I think their part as well."

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