Really love the intensity of Lions Test matches
and although not the best of games a good one nonetheless. Not often you get a game changing moment inside the first minute but Liliafano coming off was just that. Losing him changed the way the Wallabies played the game. He has a beautiful flat passing game similar to one Quade Cooper & having him in the starting side with Izzy on the wing suggest Deans was looking to play a more expansive game than they have for the last 2 years. Him coming off & being replaced by a crash ball runner in McCabe threw that plan out the window. It has also been suggested he was going to be first choice goalkicker but I'm not 100% sure Deans would have burdened him with that in his first Test. Geez I felt sorry for the poor bugger
After the injury problems he's had, to get knocked out inside the first minute of your first Test would be heartbreaking. Hopefully he has many more chances to come.
James O'Connor is NOT a Test level number 10 & that is the first thing Deans needs to address. The bloke is not even a Super Rugby level 10 but Deans will dig his heels in & leave him there which will only make our task more difficult. That being said, the fact we were within a kick of beating them after losing half the backline suggests the Lions aren't as strong as many might have thought. I thought our forwards did a terrific job of getting us over the advantage line & securing quick ball while Genia, as usual, was outstanding & Izzy made as good a Test debut as you will see. The guy is a superstar who could be an all time great if he stays in the game & will be a massive loss if he returns to League as is rumoured. I will be very interested to see the make up of both teams for the 2nd Test but I'd suggest we are looking at another two tight Test matches as they look pretty evenly matched regardless of who comes in.
Now to a subject close to my heart, the goalkicking. Beale's boots were not the issue but he should have cleaned the bottom of them before that last kick. If you have a close look at the replay you can see a big build up of dirt on the bottom of his left/plant foot & that is what caused the slip not the length of his studs. Surprised he has said he didn't take much notice of the ground where he was taking the kick from. Something I tell all kickers is to pay a lot of attention to where your plant foot will be landing even if it means taking the mark back or to the side a couple of metres. Hopefully he learns from the experience but as I've suggested before, goalkicking is 75% mental 25% technique & it is the mental aspect both Beale & O'Connor need to focus on. You simply can't miss the number of kickable goals they did (the second last miss by Beale was inexcusable) & win Test matches. Missing the easy ones in Test matches is a mental issue not a technique problem & as has been suggested here by others, symptomatic of a choke.