Australia v British & Irish Lions, July 6
Wallabies look to unleash pair of flyers
July 1, 2013
Adam Ashley-Cooper crashes over for the key try in the second Test © Getty Images
Wallabies centre Adam-Ashley Cooper has warned the British & Irish Lions his side are still improving and they are preparing to unleash Joe Tomane and Israel Folau on Saturday in the third Test.
Australia beat the Lions 16-15 on Saturday with Ashley-Cooper grabbing the only try of the game five minutes from time. Christian Leali'ifano nailed the conversion close to the touchline and the Wallabies were a point ahead, a margin the Lions failed to peg back despite having a shot at goal in the final play of the game.
With the series poised at one apiece, everything rests on Saturday's game in Sydney. And Ashley-Cooper claims the Wallabies have more in the tank despite a bruising first two Tests.
"I think we have got a lot more in us," Ashley-Cooper said. "I thought the game wasn't of a great standard. We were very happy with the result, obviously. We made a lot of improvements from game one but we certainly feel we have got a lot more improvements to make and we are really excited about that opportunity this week and taking it out there on Saturday night.
"For us we are treating it like a final but at this stage we are preparing like we would for any other Test. Sticking to what we know during the week, and then on game day on Saturday we are really going to up the ante."
The second Test on Saturday was a tense affair with the backs largely starved of ball. Knock-ons littered the affair with the Test failing to find the same pace of the first game in Brisbane. But Ashley-Cooper is adamant his team will be able to find that cutting edge on Saturday.
"For us I think a lot of improvements can be made in the backs. I think possession was a bit of an issue. We need to hold on to the ball more and we have got too many threats in the backline to waste. So we are hoping to get the ball into the wider channels this week and that is something we will address in training.
"There are a lot of players ready to be unleashed. We starved the ball from the likes of Tomane and Folau and they still have a lot of things to achieve out there, especially in the wider channels. They will be very dangerous. It's a big job for the midfield to get it out there."
Ashley-Cooper has so far played against Jonathan Davies and Brian O'Driscoll in the centres, but with the Lions preparing to unleash Jamie Roberts on Saturday, if fit, the Wallabies centre is fully aware the physicality may be up another level.
"It's a big return and a big boost to their backline. Obviously they have been having a great midfield combination working for them in Davies and O'Driscoll. They are a class act. Davies is a good ball carrier but with the king Jamie Roberts he is a great ball carrier and is a big, big human.
"He gets over that advantage line very well and it would suit their game plan well, a lot of ascendancy through that midfield. So myself and Leali'ifano need to nullify that ascendancy."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.