Lions hope rest can restore pride as they try to recover from body blows
Squad look to recuperate after emotional and physical cost of losing second Test
“You’d always put yourself in position as a winger to position yourself for the next phase. We never got to that next phase,” explained Andy Farrell, who maintained there was no lack of ambition.
“It’s a matter of putting yourself in a good enough position in the first place to play with the ambition. If we see a five-on-three five metres out from our own goal line we’re going to take that. But we didn’t see that and we actually didn’t put ourselves in position in the opposition’s half to play with some ambition because we couldn’t keep hold of the ball.”
‘Left in the bank’
Farrell maintained Noosa, where the squad sampled the sea despite the weather, was just what they needed, and some of the players were already on their laptops analysing Saturday’s defeat. The coaches have to ensure they keep plenty “left in the bank” for later in the week, while also facing a few tricky selection posers.
“You’ve got to make sure that everyone is fully fit and ready to go because you can’t carry any passengers whatsoever. That’s crucial,” said Farrell.
“Freshening up is always something you can look at. You can talk to the S&C boys and the medical boys to see whether people are flagging or not, and we can see that as coaches on the field obviously as well. You can see that in training. We’ve got to have a fully 100 per cent fit and energised team, physically and mentally, to go at the weekend and selection will definitely look at that.”
The worry must be that having invested so much emotional energy into last week’s “shot at forever” the Lions will struggle to go to the well one more time.
“Obviously we’d have liked to put it to bed yesterday but we were always going to be in it until the last week anyway,” said Farrell. “That could have played a bit of mind games in the back of people’s minds. We saw after the game emotionally what it meant to Australia, especially the captain. It meant an awful lot to them to stay in the race. How much that takes out of Australia (for this weekend) will be interesting to see.”
Once more unto the breach and all that.