British and Irish Lions: Waratahs pair Bernard Foley and Matt Lucas released from Australia squad
Last Updated: 13/06/13 6:39am
Waratahs pair Bernard Foley and Matt Lucas are free to face the British and Irish Lions on Saturday after they were released from the Australia Sevens squad.
The half-backs were called into the Wallabies' pre-World Cup training camp, much to the ire of Tahs coach Michael Cheika.
Both Foley and Lucas featured for the Waratahs during last weekend's Super Rugby win over Western Force.
Cheika was forced to field a second-string side for that clash, with 10 players on Wallabies duty and a further seven out injured, so the return of Foley and Lucas will provide some relief ahead of the crunch clash with Warren Gatland's side.
And Lions back row Sean O'Brien believes Cheika, who he played under at Leinster, will send out a fired-up side at Sydney's Allianz Stadium.
"I know 'Cheiks' very well," said O'Brien. "He is an animated character so I am sure he will have them fired up and wanting to be really aggressive and come hard at us.
"We are getting closer and closer to the Test games, and teams are going to try and come at us a little bit harder. The Waratahs will be no different.
"It's going to be a very tough game, and whatever side is picked for the Lions we are going to have our hands full at the start of the game again.
"They are really going to come at us out of the blocks and try and hurt us a little bit, so it's going to be massively intense again."
O'Brien could find himself in the Test back-row mix, although a bench role looks more likely, given his ability to cover both flanker roles and No 8.
He featured at blindside in Tuesday's 64-0 thumping of the Combined Country XV, with in-form Welshman Justin Tipuric wearing the No 7 shirt, and O'Brien can realistically expect one more outing before the Test team is unveiled.
"I dropped a ball in the second half in their 22, but other than that I was happy enough," he said, reflecting on his performance.
"I did what I had to do, job-wise, and kept working to the very end. We made life difficult at times for ourselves in the second half.
"There were a couple of errors, we were a bit sloppy and we went away from the game-plan.
"We've set ourselves standards over the last couple of weeks, and we have to maintain those. There is stuff to work on, but that is the case every week."