Mike Phillips must be given another chance against Australia, says Dewi Morris
Dewi Morris says that Mike Phillips needs to vary his game if he is selected for the second Test.
Last Updated: 24/06/13 5:16pm
I did feel for Kurtley Beale when he slipped taking that last-minute penalty which would have won them the game but on the whole I thought the Lions deserved to win.
Saying that, the Lions will have to raise the level at least another 30 per cent in Melbourne as the Aussies will really come back at them.
The fight back will come from Will Genia who was just outstanding and is the key for the Wallabies. I just thought he was sensational and is by far the best scrum-half in the world. I know Will Greenwood rates Kahn Fotuali'i right up there but sorry Will, he is not in the same class as Genia.
Genia's opposite number Mike Phillips did not have his best game and will be very disappointed. He was very pedestrian and easy to read and posed no threat in the first test. However, I still think it's a big call to replace him with Ben Youngs for the second Test. Phillips knows he can still pose a massive threat and I think he just over did it a little bit and did not vary his game - the Aussies knew he was coming and were able to stop him. In the second Test I think he needs to look at giving the ball to Jonny Sexton as much as possible. Sexton can then hit it up for runners like George North and Alex Cuthbert to chase. Then he can start to vary his game a bit - attack the fringes and keep the defences on their toes.
Pick and drive
As for other changes, well I would seriously consider bringing in Toby Faletau for Jamie Heaslip at No.8 because I think the Lions need a bit more ball carrying ability and Faletau adds that, he gives a bit more direction and a bit more pick and drive. Geoff Parling will come in for the injured Paul O'Connell and look to add a bit more ball carrying ability and keep them on top at the lineout too.
Australia have been ravaged by injuries and it will be interesting to see where Robbie Deans goes. I would expect Kurtley Beale to come in at 10 for the second Test. Don't get me wrong - James O'Connor is a superb player but put him in the midfield or on the wing where he can really do some damage. Deans is not going to bring back Quade Cooper for obvious reasons. Cooper would pose the Lions problems but you have got to draw a line in the sand somewhere and Deans has done that. You need to have someone at 10 will take the pressure off Genia - Beale is a fine player he can run and jink and cause some problems. They will also be hoping that Christian Leali'fano is back because he can give some options too.
The ball is firmly in the Lions court now and they have to put the pressure on Australia. They need to do some work on the scrum - especially as now they know how the Aussies are going to scrum.
If Australia have their full strength side out then I can see them levelling the series but if they have problems in the midfield like I suspect they will, then there will be not better chance for the Lions to clinch the series. I really think the boys can do it. They have to be sharp and improve though. If the Aussies have the ball then let them have it - marshall your men and wait for your opportunities. Then, when you can, relieve the pressure and make the most of Leigh Halfpenny - he is a weapon and a half!
The Lions can really go out and play a tactical and territorial game knowing that Aussies will come out and chase the game. If the Lions can frustrate them and force the penalties then Halfpenny can really make them pay. 1997 is a long time ago and it's about time the Lions had another series win.