Ashley-Cooper: Wallabies have a lot more in them

Wallabies centre Adam Ashley-Cooper says that there is a lot more to come from Australia in the deciding Test against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.

The 79-capped back scored the only try late in Saturday’s gripping 16-15 second Test win over the Lions in Melbourne for the Wallabies to level the three-match series.

Ashley-Cooper gave short shrift to suggestions from the Lions camp that the Wallabies had played their grand final in Melbourne.

“I think we’ve got a lot more in us, I thought the game (on Saturday) wasn’t of great standard,” Ashley-Cooper told reporters on Monday.

“We made a lot of improvements from game one, but we certainly feel we’ve got a lot more improvements to make.”

The Australians made 15 handling errors to the Lions’ seven and conceded 14 penalties, 10 of them at the ruck.

Ashley-Cooper said wingers Joe Tomane and Israel Folau could be more dangerous if the Wallabies got more of the ball to them in the Sydney showdown.

“I think we didn’t allow them through our defensive line once. I think they had zero line breaks,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“That’s a really good stat and a good reflection of how we work defensively. I think for us a lot of improvement can be made in the backs.

“Possession was a bit of a issue. We need to hold onto the ball more.

“We’ve got too many threats in the back-line to waste, so we’re hoping to get the ball into the wider channels this week.”

The NSW Waratah midfielder said he believed the Lions might be feeling the pinch mentally and physically at the end of a long northern hemisphere season but he was unsure whether that would be an advantage to Australia this weekend.

“They’ve had some physical encounters with all the Australian provincial teams, so no doubt they are feeling it mentally and physically,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“But we certainly don’t see that as an advantage or a distraction. We’ve got two games under our belt and we’re feeling really confident out of the win on Saturday night.”

Ashley-Cooper said skipper Sam Warburton’s injury loss would be a major blow for the Lions but labelled his likely replacement Sean O’Brien a “class act”.

“That would be a huge loss but they have a lot of depth there in the back-row,” he said.

“They’re certainly not lacking in any good number sevens.”

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