British & Irish Lions 2013

Lealiifano wishes to last longer

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 14:27
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I had a few minor headaches
Quote-end

Christian Lealiifano said he was looking forward to lasting more than 30 seconds playing for the Wallabies in this weekend's crucial Test against the British and Irish Lions in Melbourne.

That was the extent of the ACT Brumbies inside centre's Test debut in last weekend's 23-21 loss to the Lions in the opening Test in Brisbane.

The 25-year-old was knocked out in making a tackle on Lions counterpart Jonathan Davies and was carried off in the opening minute of the Brisbane Test.

He was cleared by team medical staff to take his place in the Wallabies' starting side for Saturday's must-win Test to stay in the series against the Lions.

"I had a few minor headaches, but all the protocols and the tests that you go through during the week with the doctor I passed quite well and I was quite happy with," Lealiifano said.

"No serious side effects. I probably thought I would be a bit groggy after having a nap on [Brisbane's] Suncorp Stadium, but I pulled up pretty well.

"We'll roll out the team on Saturday and have the same kind of nerves and hopefully have more than 30 seconds."

Lealiifano's setback disrupted the Wallabies as he was the designated goal-kicker and an attacking foil alongside rookie flyhalf James O'Connor.

But Lealiifano will again be entrusted with the goal-kicking duties as the home side look to dramatically improve on their kicking percentages after O'Connor and Kurtley Beale missed a total of four kicks at goal as the Wallabies went down by just two points.

With the roof to be closed on Melbourne's Etihad Stadium, Lealiifano said he was confident of making an impact for the Wallabies.

"I don't think it will be too bad, you have no wind to worry about [with roof closed]. I kicked earlier in the year inside Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin and that was a closed roof and I kicked well, so I don't think It'll have much effect," he said.

Reflecting back on his misfortune the previous week, Lealiifano quipped: "I remember most things, the hardest thing was the doctor asking me if I remember the Tahs [Waratahs] and Lions score from two weeks before and I have a struggle remembering that now.

"They quickly ruled me out for going back on. I am feeling disappointed that I couldn't contribute to the side but they did very well under the circumstances.

"I remember coming back out and watching the boys play and just soaking up the atmosphere again ... I'm sure everyone is still excited again.

"Hopefully we can keep players out on the field for long enough to execute our game plan and contribute. We've looked at [the Lions defence] and it is difficult but I think we can try to get the ball to Izzy [first Test two-try hero Israel Folau] as much as we can."

AFP

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