Genia: 'Give the ball to Izzy'

Fri, 28 Jun 2013 12:29
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Will Genia called on the backs-to-the-wall Wallabies to express themselves and have a crack at the B&I Lions.

Will Genia called on the backs-to-the-wall Wallabies to express themselves and have a crack at the British and Irish Lions in this weekend's second Test, in a bid to take their series to a decider.

The influential Wallaby scrumhalf has urged his team to play to their strengths and give more of the ball to wing sensation Israel Folau, who scored two outstanding tries in his team's 23-21 loss to the Lions in Brisbane last week.

The Lions can win their first series since 1997 if they beat the Wallabies in Melbourne, but Genia said Australia should leave no stone unturned and take the game to the Lions.

The Wallabies are walking the plank and must win Saturday's crucial Test to take the series to a decider in Sydney next week.

It has been a messy build-up this week to the Wallabies' biggest game in years amid distractions including a citing and appeal, injuries, a court drama and 04.00 fast-food outings, but Genia said the Australian team had to find a way to win this weekend.

"It's the first time we've played together as a group [this year] with the new things that we've brought in so I think the whole team will be better for it," Genia said.

"We can't play like we did last week and expect to get the result because they'll be better and we know we need to do better.

"We want to get out there and play footy. I think we're probably guilty at times of not really expressing ourselves and using our strengths that we have out wide, guys like Izzy [Folau], giving him a little bit more ball and we've got someone like [wing] Joe Tomane coming in now as well and Kurtley Beale at the back.

"So we want to look to have a crack and we're not going to leave any stone unturned."

Skipper James Horwill, who now has an IRB appeal against his judicial hearing reprieve hanging over his head after the Test, said the Wallabies were focused on staying alive in the three-Test series.

"We're certainly very determined no matter whatever happens. We're 1-0 down in the series, this is a must-win game to keep the series alive and we want to retain the Tom Richards Cup ... that's been our focus all this year," he said.

"The boys are keen to get back on square-pegging and send it to game three in Sydney. We felt there were some things we probably left out there last time. We can do better."

Australia's build-up has been disrupted by backline injuries, a Digby Ioane arrest warrant, Horwill's rucking charge, subsequent hearing success and then a controversial IRB appeal, along with backs James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale's nocturnal antics.

Horwill called on his team's fighting qualities to prevail against Warren Gatland's men.

"Australians in general like to prove people wrong across the board. Across any sporting code, some of the best performances are when the chips are down and people stand up where they weren't expected to," he said.

"I'm not saying the chips are down, we've had a very good week of prep, and we're really looking forward to this weekend."

Genia said he expected the Wallabies to perform better with Christian Lealiifano recovered from last week's head knock and looking forward to having an impact at inside centre after lasting less than one minute in his debut Test last week.

"Yeah, I think Christian was a big loss for us. Pat McCabe has played a lot of rugby for the Wallabies but it definitely wasn't a like-for-like swap," Genia said.

"By losing Christian we lost the ability to have a second playmaker, which allows you the opportunity to get the ball wider. Having him there will definitely take the pressure of [flyhalf] James O'Connor a little bit in the sense that he is a playmaker.

"Looking back on last week's game, I thought James played quite well. If we'd knocked that kick over at the end, we wouldn't be questioning anything about James.

"I have full confidence in him to do the job. Having Christian there will make a big difference."

AFP

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