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Larkham recalls Lions ambush

Australia great Stephen Larkham insists the reason the Wallabies were ambushed by the British and Irish Lions in 2001 was because they thought they were playing a Barbarians-style team.

The Lions registered a famous 29-13 victory in Brisbane before losing the subsequent Tests in Melbourne and Sydney, and the 2013 squad will be hoping history fails to repeat itself as they take a 1-0 series lead to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

"In 2001 we were shocked in that first Test," said Larkham, speaking on behalf of Land Rover. "The attitude of the boys going into that match was that it was more of a Barbarians sort of fixture. We really didn't know what a Lions tour was about."

He added: "One of our forwards said 'it's going to be interesting to see how these French front rows go this week'.

"The mentality was that we were playing this put-together side from the northern hemisphere. It just wasn't built up like it is now.

"When we ran out at the Gabba for that first Test and there was a sea of red, it shocked us initially.

"We tried to play a really expansive Barbarians-type style of game and they smashed us.

"After 50 minutes we realised this wasn't a muck around game. We learned a big lesson about what the Lions were like.

"Before the second week we realised we needed a proper Test match gameplan as opposed to playing what we see.

"We shocked them in the second Test and carried that momentum through into the third Test."


From Belfast Telegraph