Belfast Telegraph

We won't be dropping our guard: Farrell

By Andrew Baldock

Owen Farrell has dismissed any notion of complacency creeping into the the British and Irish Lions camp as "ridiculous" as they prepare for a second Test showdown against Australia.

The Lions are 1-0 up following last weekend's gripping success in Brisbane, and victory at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday would end 16 years of hurt since they last won a Test series.

The tourists have lost lock Paul O'Connell because of a broken arm, while prop Alex Corbisiero is battling to overcome calf muscle trouble, meaning probable starts for Geoff Parling and Mako Vunipola.

And the Test team could also see a return for Ireland wing Tommy Bowe, who has recovered rapidly from a broken hand suffered against Queensland Reds 18 days ago.

Welshman Alex Cuthbert would be the player under pressure if head coach Warren Gatland decides on starting with Bowe, and fit-again Manu Tuilagi might make a bid to dislodge Jonathan Davies from midfield alongside Brian O'Driscoll.

And the Lions will start as favourites, especially given the Wallabies' goalkicking woes of last weekend, while they have also lost injured trio Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes and Pat McCabe.

But England fly-half Farrell, who is set to be on the Lions bench, said: "To even contemplate complacency after one win in a three-Test series would be ridiculous, so we are preparing as well as we can do. You have always got to be better.

"People play against each other and get used to playing against each other, figure each other out that bit more. If you are not getting better, you are going in the wrong direction. There is only one direction we want to go.

"To be a part of this, a team like this and a game such as this weekend, the opportunity to go 2-0 is an unbelievable achievement for any team down here, and especially for a team that has come together only recently."

Farrell's support role to Ireland number 10 Jonathan Sexton looks likely to continue on Saturday, and he added: "You have to prepare yourself as you would for any other game.

"You could be on there after a minute. You have to be relaxed and not too caught up in it so that you can do your job when you do get on. We get on well, we try to push each other. He is a fantastic player, and I am learning a lot off him.

"Every time you get the chance you have got to try and take it. You have got to prove yourself every time you step out on the field. You can't do it one week and not the next – that is called inconsistent. You've got to put your best foot forward to serve the team."

Farrell, Sexton, Leigh Halfpenny and Stuart Hogg have missed just nine from 64 shots at goal.

In Farrell's case, it is 18 out of 19 successful kicks, and he said: "I feel in good rhythm at the moment.

"We are egging each other on. Before we came out (on tour) we had a few competitions.

"It is something that I love doing and I love the responsibility of doing, that's why you practise so hard."

Belfast Telegraph


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