Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boost for Lions; Two Key Wallabies Are out of Deciding Test

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boost for Lions; Two Key Wallabies Are out of Deciding Test

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS JONES

THE LIONS were given a major boost today when two key Wallabies were ruled out of Saturday's decisive Third Test at Stadium Australia in Sydney.

Outside-half Stephen Larkham, who was roughed up by the Lions in the first two Tests, has failed to recover from an arm injury and lock David Giffin damaged a hamstring in training. Elton Flatley replaces Larkham while Justin Harrison wins his first cap at lock alongside captain John Eales.

The changes to the Wallaby side that defeated the Lions 35-14 in Melbourne last weekend were a timely boost for the Lions as the tour management was furiously dealing with the fifth member of their touring party going into print with complaints about the tough regime.

Ireland lock Malcolm O'Kelly has now joined Matt Dawson, Austin Healey, Gordon Bulloch and Dan Luger in attacking the methods employed by the coaching staff on this tour. He told an Irish newspaper: "From the time we first gathered together as a squad, we were all inspired by the thought that there were no preconceived ideas of what the test team would be.

"Now, however, one can't help feeling that the Test team had been pencilled in from the very start. Instead of trying to promote their development and to let players flourish in such talented company, the feedback we received, if any, felt negative and hostile.

"A lot of gifted players are going to go back home with less confidence than before they left for this supposed tour of a lifetime."

This latest attack is certain to lead to calls from within the four Home Unions - the body which runs Lions tours - to stop players contributing personal columns while a tour is in

progress. Lions manager Donal Lenihan wanted to block columns in the media and on internet sites but discovered there were legal problems. His tour report will urge future trips to do everything in their power to halt this damaging practise. …

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