Australia v British & Irish Lions, Sydney, July 6
Scott Gibbs blasts Lions, Gatland
June 30, 2013
Mako Vunipola should be benched, Scott Gibbs says © Getty Images
Warren Gatland must rethink his entire game plan and make wholesale personnel changes if the British & Irish Lions are to have a chance of winning the Tom Richards Cup series decider against Australia, Lions legend Scott Gibbs says.
Gibbs, a veteran of three Lions tours from 1993, accused Gatland's men of freezing on the big stage and said momentum was now firmly with the Wallabies after a Adam Ashley-Cooper scored a late try in the second Test at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne to deny the tourists their first series victory in 16 years. The result sets up a mouth-watering decider at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Saturday night after the opening two games were decided by two points or less.
"I was disappointed with the performance certainly from the Lions perspective, and you could see the balance of power now has slowly shifted to the Wallabies camp," Gibbs said. "Given the enormity of the challenge - 1-0 up going into the second Test - I thought that they threw the game away because they froze in the moment. I truly believe that because the game for me looked as if they were trying to rely on the interpretations of the scrum and certainly get some take-aways from the turnover at the breakdown. It was the greatest opportunity for them, and they let it slip. They just tried to do enough to win that Test match, and that's just not good enough at Test level and the challenge becomes infinitely harder now going to Sydney. I just ultimately was disappointed with the level of application and aggression throughout that second Test, and I really thought that they got caught up in the moment."
Scott Gibbs has blasted Warren Gatland and the Lions%]
Gibbs called on Gatland to change his entire backrow and said England that loose-head Alex Corbisiero must come back into the side for Mako Vunipola if he recovered from his calf injury. "Really not a good body of work for the Lions, a lot of soul searching I would guess, and I think Warren Gatland needs to look at himself," Gibbs said. "He needs to look at the raw materials he has to choose from and say 'listen we've got one last gasp at this and we have to go and play'. And I think that's where you've got to bring Justin Tipuric, Sean O'Brien and Toby Faletau into that back-row because we've got to cross gain lines before we can think of starting to play smart football."
Gibbs also believes bullocking inside centre Jamie Roberts should come into consideration as the Welshman is hopeful of returning this weekend from the hamstring strain sustained against New South Wales Waratahs two weeks ago. "I think in broken field situations we need to have more of a carrying presence to probe and threaten the defence," Gibbs said.
The Wallabies now have the momentum, Scott Gibbs says © Getty Images