Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby

Jason O'Halloran tells Scotland's players to make their Lions case

Published 11/11/2016

Jason O'Halloran, Scotland attack coach, reckons the Dark Blues have a number of contenders for the British and Irish Lions tour next year
Jason O'Halloran, Scotland attack coach, reckons the Dark Blues have a number of contenders for the British and Irish Lions tour next year

Jason O'Halloran has urged Scotland's British and Irish Lions hopefuls to grasp their opportunity to impress against Australia after watching the Wallabies condemn Wales to a heavy defeat.

Dark Blues attack coach O'Halloran was blown away by the Aussies' five-try display in last weekend's 32-8 triumph in Cardiff.

And he reckons some of Warren Gatland's men will now be fretting on their place in the Lions party which heads to New Zealand next summer after being brutally swept aside at the Principality Stadium.

Scots like Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell, skipper Greig Laidlaw and the Gray brothers, Richie and Jonny, all have their own ambitions of taking on the All Blacks in that famous red jersey.

And O'Halloran believes Saturday's Murrayfield showdown with Michael Cheika's men is the perfect chance for them to prove their credentials.

But he warned it will take a unified effort if they are to press a strong case for selection.

He said: "I think this is a game everyone would like to play well in.

"The Wallabies are clearly one of the world's top teams and their performance against Wales last week would suggest they are a team that is starting to find their feet.

"They have brought in some new people who are starting to play really, really well.

"So if we can play well this weekend, considering some Lions options were exposed quite badly last week, it would certainly give our guys an opportunity to make the squad next summer.

"We're not suggesting we're going to get a massive contingent in the Lions side at this stage but there is plenty of Tests to come between now and the selection for that team.

"As a collective if we play well, we'll give ourselves a better chance as individuals, so we need to play well as a team at the end of the day."

But O'Halloran admits Scotland will have to show a ruthless streak if they are to make it three wins out of five against the Aussies.

The Kiwi is tasked with drawing up the masterplan for victory this weekend but confessed the Wallabies performance against the Welsh did not offer up to many hints about where their weaknesses lie.

Asked if he saw any signs of where the Scots should focus their forward surges, he said: "Not terribly many, because they had the ball for about 85 per cent of the game - it was hard to pick out too much as an attack coach.

"But there were a couple of things there we think we can exploit. I won't go into too much detail. We'll see what happens tomorrow afternoon."

It is just 12 months since the teams last met in the controversial quarter-final at the 2015 World Cup.

A late blunder by referee Craig Joubert robbed the Scots of a historic victory but full-back Hogg is in no mood to spend too long reflecting on that painful turn of events.

And even if he did, he does not believe there are too many lessons to be learned, with both sides containing just seven players who started at Twickenham.

"It's a massive challenge, but it's one we're ready for and excited about," said the Glasgow flyer. "Australia were very impressive in attack against Wales and scored five tries.

"They are a very good attacking team so defensively we will need to be on the money and make sure we shut them down.

"When we are attacking, we need to make sure we look after the ball otherwise we could allow Australia to do what they did last week.

"If we look after the ball then we can gain some momentum and score some tries.

"I believe we can surprise them, we have our structures in place and it's a case of holding on to the ball and going forward.

"Both teams have changed quiet a bit since we played last year. We are trying to put a new structure into place.

"We are continuing to learn, It's about working hard in training and when it comes to games it's about taking our opportunities.

"It's all about getting wins on the board and hopefully we can start doing that on Saturday."

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph