Lions sniff rare series win

The Lions stumbled over the line at a heaving Lang Park for Saturday's heart-stopping 23-21 win.

The Lions look for their first series victory since their 1997 tour.

MELBOURNE - The Lions stumbled over the line at a heaving Lang Park for Saturday's heart-stopping 23-21 win, aided by the wayward boot of Wallabies fullback Kurtley Beale that exacted a huge physical toll on both sides.

Now another 80 minutes of gut-busting punishment looms under the closed roof of Docklands Stadium where coach Warren Gatland has demanded the tourists finish the job and win their first series since 1997.

"This is a do-or-die match for Australia. It's going to be a real battle out there," the New Zealander said.

"We can win this series by winning on Saturday, that's what our whole focus needs to be. The last thing we want to do is think about going and being 1-1 and having to go and play another game in Sydney."

Australia's backline was torn asunder in the Brisbane thriller, with three taken from the ground by stretcher, but the hosts showed enormous grit to claw their way back.

A business-as-usual attitude has pervaded the Wallabies camp, with the coaching staff re-assembling another backline dripping with glittering talent.

Robbie Deans may well be coaching for his job at Docklands Stadium, and again at Sydney should the Wallabies survive, but remains as unfazed as ever, having long stared down the axe.

"I thought the boys did incredibly well under the circumstances (last week), particularly as it was a domino effect that went from there to the extent where we had to play a forward in the backline," he told reporters.

"Clearly this week we've had the benefit of some more preparation and hopefully we'll have a lit bit more fluency in our game."

Australia head into game two with history as inspiration, having come back from a match down to overhaul the Lions in 2001 and 1989.

They will be mindful that the John Eales - captained side dropped the opener in Brisbane but leveled the 2001 series at the same venue before closing it out in Sydney.

Their preparations have not been ideal, however, with off-field distractions caused by three of other their backs.

Winger Digby Ioane was ruled out of the series with a shoulder injury on Monday but not before news broke that a warrant had been issued for his arrest for missing a court appearance related to an assault charge.

Beale and flyhalf James O'Connor, who struggled in the first match, were then photographed at a fast food restaurant at nearly four in the morning following the Lions' tour match win over the Melbourne Rebels.

Although admonishing the pair, Deans has granted them a chance to make amends, leaving O'Connor in the pivotal position and promoting Beale to fullback in place of the injured Berrick Barnes.

With dual international Israel Folau, who scored two tries in a stunning test debut four months after playing his first senior game, on the other wing, speedy Brumbies back Joe Tomane completes a dangerous back three.

Deans has been buoyed by the ever-reliable centre Adam Ashley-Cooper, who underlined his reputation as Australia's 'Mr. Indestructible' by coming back from a shoulder injury.


Lions. 15. Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), 14. Tommy Bowe (Ireland), 13. Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland), 12. Jonathan Davies (Wales), 11. George North (Wales), 10. Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), 9. Ben Youngs (England, 8. Jamie Heaslip (Ireland), 7. Sam Warburton (Wales, captain), 6. Dan Lydiate (Wales), 5. Geoff Parling (England), 4. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), 3. Adam Jones (Wales), 2. Tom Youngs (England), 1. Mako Vunipola (England).

Replacements - 16. Richard Hibbard (Wales), 17.Ryan Grant (Scotland), 18. Dan Cole (England), 19. Tom Croft (England), 20. Sean O'Brien (Ireland), 21. Conor Murray (Ireland), 22. Owen Farrell (England), 23. Alex Cuthbert (Wales)

Wallabies - 15. Kurtley Beale, 14.Israel Folau, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12. Christian Leali'ifano, 11. Joe Tomane, 10. James O'Connor, 9. Will Genia, 8. Wycliff Palu, 7. Michael Hooper, 6. Ben Mowen, 5. James Horwill (captain), 4. Kane Douglas, 3. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Benn Robinson. Replacements: 16. Saia Fainga'a, 17. James Slipper, 18. Sekope Kepu, 19. Rob Simmons, 20. Liam Gill, 21. Nick Phipps, 22. Rob Horne, 23. Jesse Mogg.