Deans, Smith, O’Connor, and Poite the keys tonight for Wallabies

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    James O'Connor would make a Wallabies third XV. (Tim Anger Photography)

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    Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will have his troops on high alert on three counts tonight at ANZ Stadium for the series decider against the Lions.

    First up it’s a huge promotional game for rugby in Australia, secondly it will be history-making to beat the Lions in successive series, and thirdly it’s overdue for the Australian fans to have something to cheer about well into the night.

    There is a fourth, but the reserved Deans won’t be thinking about it – his own survival.

    The knives are poised, and this is the perfect time for Deans to knock the knockers with the series success.

    And I can taste it.

    There have been spasmodic signs in this bitter-sweet but exciting campaign during the 23-21 loss and 16-15 win the Wallabies are starting to believe in themselves.

    And high time. If they can click tonight, we are in for a cracker of a game.

    The biggest cheer of the night will be reserved for the Wallaby with seven on his back – George Smith – champion player, champion bloke.

    Even the most avid Lions supporters will be saluting the about to be 33-year-old, who is an ornament to the game.

    Smith’s presence will lift the Wallabies a couple of notches, he’s a top motivator in his own quiet and super-efficient way.

    And the Lions know they are up against a formidable opponent who will in their face for the entire time he’s on the paddock.

    Will this be James O’Connor’s night, after two very ordinary to poor performances at 10, highlighted by just one pass in 160 minutes that sent Adam Ashley-Cooper in for what turned out to be the match-winning try last Saturday?

    Deans has backed O’Connor from the start, it’s time O’Connor repaid the faith.

    Wallaby wingers Israel Folau and Joe Tomane must not be starved tonight, and it’s up to O’Connor to see that doesn’t happen.

    There’s no argument he has the natural ability to do anything on the rugby field. For him to have a blinder tonight would be the icing on the cake.

    And that leaves French referee Romain Poite, who loves to let both sides have an open go.

    That’s a major plus. But of the three refs during this series with Chris Pollock, and Craig Joubert, he’s the least experienced in the biggest game.

    This will be a severe test for the pocket-rocket who has to look up to half-backs in an international that could well get fiery with so much at stake for both sides.

    The downside will be if Poite loses control and blows the pea out his whistle.

    If it turns out to be a penalty shootout between Christian Lealiifano and Leigh Halfpenny, that would be a tragedy.

    But if Poite can handle the biggest leap of his career, we will have the blockbuster it promises to be.

    Let that be the case, bring it on.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (125)

    • July 6th 2013 @ 9:19am
      jutsie said | July 6th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      Im pumped!!!

      • July 6th 2013 @ 6:31pm
        Anne said | July 6th 2013 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

        With out applying to much pressure. If JOC has another shocker well lose. If he moderately better than his last two woeful performances we win. It’s that simple.

        • July 7th 2013 @ 1:48pm
          joeb said | July 7th 2013 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

          “If he moderately better than his last two woeful performances we win. It’s that simple.”

          According to Kafe last night, erm either before kick-off, or perhaps in the post match said, “JOC’s improved each game,” and I think he’s right. And then Will reiterated same. Now that team rebuilding is essential, and new coach appointed pronto, we’ll see what unfolds. Maybe Robbie – 6th year in Gold job – can score a gig mentoring at one of our provinces.

      • July 6th 2013 @ 10:01pm
        Tom Callaghan said | July 6th 2013 @ 10:01pm | ! Report

        How do you feel now Jutsie…how d you fell?
        Under the pump rather than pumped, I’d say!

    • July 6th 2013 @ 9:26am
      Justin2 said | July 6th 2013 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      For Australia to win our best play maker must touch the ball more than the 5 times he did last week

      • July 6th 2013 @ 10:24am
        Brendon said | July 6th 2013 @ 10:24am | ! Report

        Genia ?

        • July 6th 2013 @ 10:38am
          Brendo said | July 6th 2013 @ 10:38am | ! Report

          Ben Robbo?

      • July 6th 2013 @ 1:04pm
        GWS said | July 6th 2013 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

        First you have to pick your best playmaker

        • July 6th 2013 @ 5:18pm
          Wallabies Fan said | July 6th 2013 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

          mmmmmm or how about ‘a’ playmaker even.

          Just finished rewatching the Reds and Brumbies games before tonights decider – Gee wouldn’t a proper 10 have lit up the two previous wallabies games – they were only close because of the scorelines – absolute rubbish bacline play apart from the odd bit of individual brilliance..

    • July 6th 2013 @ 9:50am
      Worlds Biggest said | July 6th 2013 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      Absolutely me too, come on the men in Gold !!!!!!!

    • July 6th 2013 @ 9:51am
      wozza said | July 6th 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi

    • July 6th 2013 @ 9:52am
      Lloyd said | July 6th 2013 @ 9:52am | ! Report

      Yeh I’ll be settlin in around 10.30 at the Dartmouth inn in Totnes,devon.Wills of Burke and Wills’s home townaround Givin myself a half hour to warm/wind up the locals before kickoff.i’ve been the only Australian in the place for the last two weekends apart from my
      1/2 caste pommy boys who have been surreptitiously backing the gold.however there’s nothing surreptitious about my support.i’ve had a couple of crackin weekends and the suns shining again for this one.life is good.
      What could be better
      Lets farkin stick it to em
      Enjoy mates

      • July 6th 2013 @ 10:12am
        Adsa said | July 6th 2013 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        Onya Lloyd give them some stick.

      • July 6th 2013 @ 10:16am
        kombiutedriver said | July 6th 2013 @ 10:16am | ! Report

        Hope your local is silenced by a favourable Wallaby result. Nothing tastes sweeter than the stunned silence of opposition.

      • July 6th 2013 @ 10:23am
        Josh M said | July 6th 2013 @ 10:23am | ! Report

        Go LLoyd !!!!

      • July 6th 2013 @ 12:42pm
        Stin said | July 6th 2013 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

        I was the ONLY Aussie at Newbury Rugby club in 2001 when Justin Harrison and it was awesome and terrifying in equal measure.

        • July 6th 2013 @ 4:29pm
          Lloyd said | July 6th 2013 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

          Yeh I was in the watermans arms just down the road for that one.what a great day.i had my didgeridoo with me and stood up and sang adavance Australia fair.ya gotta laugh.i was kinda glad that everyone around me had something to celebrate that day.i guess it’ll be the same today but with the ashes cumin up I’m not feelin so generous.
          Sweet bros
          Let’s enjoy

          • July 6th 2013 @ 5:29pm
            Billy Bob said | July 6th 2013 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

            I was at the Beach Road Hotel Bondi in 2001. The place was packed with Brits and Paddys. Some even had picnic blankets spread out on the carpet in the public bar with thermos’ of tea.
            The Aussies were outnumbered but late in the game , and well before Harrison’s steal, a chant started up amongst the minority.
            Bravely, and probably unwisely, the Aussie mob started with ‘If you’re not a convict, get out!’ There was no trouble and good humour amongst the tribes.
            All in all a fun night (or was it afternoon, I can’t remember).

      • July 6th 2013 @ 2:53pm
        Hal said | July 6th 2013 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

        Good stuff Lloyd

    • July 6th 2013 @ 9:54am
      mampara said | July 6th 2013 @ 9:54am | ! Report

      Aussies seem so overconfident but I’m struggling to see the lions win this. There are just too many Welshmen and I’ve watched them crumble so many times against Oz, Nz and SA. Sean O’Brien has a history of tormenting Aus but I think Smith will keep him busy. Looks like Gatland plans to bust Oz through the 9, 10, 12 channels with the selections, reckon they’ll be coming hard through Roberts, Davies and Tuilagi…Gona be fascinating…hope Deans gives them licence to win this, there are a 1000sand points in that back line if they get it right (JOC).

      • July 6th 2013 @ 10:18am
        jutsie said | July 6th 2013 @ 10:18am | ! Report

        No over confidence here just excited for the decider of a once in 12 years series.

        • July 6th 2013 @ 10:54am
          mampara said | July 6th 2013 @ 10:54am | ! Report

          Maybe not you Justie, but plenty reckon they’ve got it wrapped up before a ball has been kicked…in the case of JOC: passed!

          • Roar Guru

            July 6th 2013 @ 10:58am
            jeznez said | July 6th 2013 @ 10:58am | ! Report

            Gee I hope the team aren’t thinking like the fans have been. We were a Leigh Halfpenny shot at goal short of this being a dead rubber. I reckon we have them but i want the team a little scared, desperate and dangerous. I think we will need to be to get in front of these blokes.

          • July 6th 2013 @ 11:13am
            Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | July 6th 2013 @ 11:13am | ! Report

            I keep reading reports of overconfidence in a Wallaby win. So far no one has pointed me in the direction of their ‘source’. Funny about that!

            Games thus far show that there’s barely a gnats nut between the teams. As I see it, the result could well swing on small things such as a missed kick, replacements, dropped pill, who digs the deepest when their knackered…………that sort of thing.

            • July 6th 2013 @ 1:51pm
              TNA said | July 6th 2013 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

              Bill it. Is 5 a.m 4 me.do Not wanna sleep no more It is dark out side feel like taken a Work i dont care about These gangstes outside My eyes allready fül of teers i love The WaLLBieS!!!no 1 gona stop. Me Loven Them just hope ginia going in 4 a try he and i love that

              • July 6th 2013 @ 3:20pm
                Johnny J-Dog said | July 6th 2013 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

                We are definitely underestimating the Lions. We were more desperate than them last week and they played like they could afford to lose and even then we only won by just one point at the death. This time they will be just as desperate as us and will play accordingly. They will have full on attack and aggression from the kickoff. We will be slow to react. Too slow, as is often the case. I am sensing a lot of misplaced cockiness from our supporters so I hope our players aren’t infected by this but O’Connor and Beale still don’t have the maturity to handle it. Their abilities don’t match their confidence. I don’t see this Wallabies backline ever ‘clicking’ with O’Connor at 5/8. He is a receiver not a distributor and his selection there will seal the end of Deans’ s career as the Wallabies coach. The talent is there and the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are all there for him, but he just can’t put them together right. He was slowly getting closer, but it will be too late and that’s the difference between winning and losing and having a job or no job.

              • July 6th 2013 @ 3:30pm
                ohtani's jacket said | July 6th 2013 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

                The Wallabies won’t lose. It would take a monumentally poor performance from the Wallabies to lose this test.

            • July 6th 2013 @ 4:29pm
              mampara said | July 6th 2013 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

              BB of B if you have not sensed the air of confidence in many commentators media and otherwise, and rightly so you, must have been a busy week for you or something.

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