The Lions had the tour series victory at their mercy in Melbourne last weekend when they were just minutes away from glory before a late converted try from Adam Ashley-Cooper secured a last-gasp Australia win.
That result now means the balance couldn’t be finer ahead of the final test in Sydney this weekend. It really is winner takes all.
Expect it to be a close game, after all, the Lions’ victory in the opening match came only by a two-point margin and last week it was just one, with the result 16-15 in the hosts favour.
The big news this week had been Warren Gatland’s decision to drop veteran centre Brian O’Driscoll from the squad in the deciding match.
After skipper Sam Warburton had picked up a hamstring injury in the second test, it was widely expected that the 34-year-old would inherit the armband but instead he finds himself as one of the six players dropped for the final test.
Instead, Welshman Jamie Roberts comes into the side alongside compatriot Jonathan Davies. Roberts had been forced to miss the first two matches due to a hamstring injury but is now back to match fitness.
In fact, much criticism has been directed towards Gatland this week after he announced that 10 of the 15 starters on Saturday will be Welshman but the Wales national coach has defended his selection choices as he looks for a more physical approach from the Melbourne test.
The coaches other changes see the introductions of hooker Richard Hibbard, flanker Sean O’Brien and number eight Toby Faletau whilst scrum-half Mike Phillips returns to the squad and Alex Corbisiero is also recalled at loose-head prop.
The Australians will be fancying their chances after their late, late victory last Saturday and coach Robbie Deans has also made a notable alteration to his squad ahead of the all-important match.
He has brought in experienced flanker George Smith who will become the first Australian player to play against the Lions in two separate tour series after he lined up against the Lions as a 20-year-old back in 2001.
He hasn’t been involved in the international side for four years but will win his 111th cap when he steps out into the Olympic Park on Saturday.
Australia’s late victory last week sees them shade the bookies lists and they go into the third test as slight favourites to clinch the series victory.
Stan James are offering odds of 20/21 on Australia scooping victory on Saturday morning which would see them rescue the series.
But if you fancy a flutter on the Lions to secure their first tour series victory since 1997, Paddy Power are offering odds of 6/5 for a Lions win which would see that happen.
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