Menu allblacks.com

News

Rowntree questions Smith selection

Getty Images

Sportal.co.nz     06 Jul 2013     Getty Images

Smith, who has not played for six weeks due to a knee injury and last played a Test match in November 2009, will start at openside flanker in Saturday's series decider in Sydney.

"I'm surprised at that, he's been out for long time, it'll be interesting to see his match fitness," Rowntree quipped in reference to the 110-Test veteran's selection on Friday.

"They've got three good sevens in that squad.

"We've seen what George has been bringing in [Investec] Super Rugby, he makes very good decisions and is still very good technically but makes very good decisions when to go in there and challenge the breakdown.

"We'll see how much of a gamble it is with Smith tomorrow."

Rowntree fired another salvo at the Wallabies moments later, suggesting they spent all of their ammunition in Melbourne, and claimed the Lions have plenty more to give in the decider.

"I think we saw the reaction from Australia last week after they beat us, especially their captain (James) Horwill who was crying after the game," he said.

"They threw everything at us in that game and beat us by a point, and we really didn't get our game going.

"There's loads more to come from us and the guys are desperate to win.

"It's the biggest game of our lives this, as players, as coaches.

"A lot of us have been involved with grand-final games, this is the biggest one for us."

The tourists are attempting to avoid a fourth consecutive series loss, having not won a series since their 2-1 triumph over South Africa in 1997.

If they lose it will be the first time in their proud 125 history the Lions have lost four series on the trot.

"The players have got to stand up, very much so," Rowntree said.

"We have to bring everything that we've prepared in terms of our game.

"It's not all come together, I thought there was elements of that in the first Test but certainly in the second Test we just didn't string a lot of things together.

"And that's what we must do tomorrow on top of doing the basics of the game very well."