British & Irish Lions
Debate over 'undercooked' Lions rumbles on
Tom Hamilton in Sydney
June 13, 2013

Former Wallabies hooker Tom Lawton believes the British & Irish Lions run the risk of going into their first Test against the Wallabies undercooked following a run of four games that have seen just one side push the tourists close.

In 1989, the Lions won all of their games prior to the first Test but found it hard going against the Australia 'B' side, Queensland and New South Wales. Despite having plenty of opportunities to try out different combinations, they still fell against a Wallabies side in the first Test. Lawton started all three Tests at hooker for the Wallabies and he fears that the tourists will not benefit from matches like Tuesday night's thrashing of the Country side and labelled the game "counter-productive" from a Lions point of view.

"I would be concerned if I was coaching the Lions because they've got such easy games before the Test match," Lawton told ESPN. "The Test match will be hard and you can rest assured, especially at the Suncorp Stadium, the Australians will be very difficult to beat because of the enormous support. Even though there will be a lot of Lions supporters in the stand, Suncorp's such a coliseum because it's our soil. The support is for us and it's a fantastic place to play rugby. But having said that, the Lions have looked pretty good so far."

When asked about whether they would be 'undercooked' heading into the match on June 22, Lawton responded: "There's no doubt about it. They haven't put their Test side in place yet. They've got to do that this weekend, they have no other choice. They will not go into a Test match without having run out their first XV."

But Lions centre Jamie Roberts disagreed. "I don't think we will be [undercooked]. If Gats [Warren Gatland] doesn't feel we're getting it in games he'll replicate it in training. I don't think there's any danger of this squad being undercooked.

"The sports science team out here are second to none and it's about getting things right off the pitch as well. Certainly, if he doesn't feel that he's getting that intensity he'll raise it in training."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.

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