British and Irish Lions: Andy Farrell says the mood in the camp is intensifying
Last Updated: 21/06/13 1:48pm
Andy Farrell: Oversees a Lions training session
Assistant coach Andy Farrell believes the wealth of experience in the British and Irish Lions squad will be the key to returning a first tour victory in 16 years.
The players in the tourists' starting XV for Saturday's series opener against Australia in Brisbane have amassed 770 caps in contrast to 519 Test appearances for the Wallabies side.
And Farrell is convinced that seasoned campaigners such as Paul O'Connell, Brian O'Driscoll, Adam Jones and Mike Phillips can help the Lions avenge their 2-1 series defeat to Australia in 2001.
"Experience in big games counts for a lot because they've been there and done it. Australia have some world class players and we do too," he said.
"What you generally get when you come to an occasion like this is the performance levels rise another 10-15 per cent. The more experience you have like that the better.
"When you looked around the team meeting today to see who is going to go into battle with you, it gives you great pleasure."
Much has been made about the weakness of the opposition in the Lions' warm-up matches until the tourists were beaten in their final preparation game by a strong Brumbies side on Tuesday.
But Farrell is convinced that preparations have been well judged and said that the mood and work-rate in the camp is intensifying for the first Test.
"After all the hard work we've done over the last six weeks, we know that this is what it's all been for," he said.
"You can tell Test week because there's a buzz about the place and an excitement among the players.
"There's an intensity about the way we train and the work ethic on and off the park is off the level. We've had a great week."