Wallabies are on the way up: Lyons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies are on the way up: Lyons

28/11/2006 06:51:05 PM Comments (0)

Recalled Wallaby forward David Lyons insists Australia's much maligned pack has definitely improved over the past year and is set to provide winger Lote Tuqiri the extra possession which could keep him in the code.

No.8 Lyons made his first Test start for over a year in last weekend's tour ending 44-15 thumping of Scotland.

The dominant forward performance was a marked contrast to some of the feeble efforts on last year's European tour and Lyons felt the Australian pack now commanded greater respect from its northern hemisphere opponents.

"I definitely think so, if you look where we were this time last year after that tour," Lyons said upon his return to Sydney.

"The Scots came out and said how much we surprised them. There was maybe just a couple of slip ups along the way ... but there's definitely a big improvement I think we have made from this time last year.

"In most games our forward pack have really been standing up and being going pretty well across the field.

"The lineout has been very successful and moved up a lot and the scrum is a work in progress, but I think we've definitely seen improvements on this tour."

The returning Wallabies all stressed they wanted dynamic outside back Tuqiri to remain in rugby after his contract expires at the end of next year.

They said Tuqiri was keeping his cards close to his chest about his intentions but felt he was an invaluable marketing asset for whichever code he chose.

One of Tuqiri's main concerns about rugby is his lack of involvement when the Wallabies don't win enough possession, but Lyons felt that would be less of a problem in the future.

"We've got a good young forward pack, so he (Tuqiri) is only going to be getting more ball."

Wallaby captain and centre Stirling Mortlock said Tuqiri's case was different to that of utility back Mat Rogers, who will return to rugby league after the 2007 World Cup.

"I think specifically looking at what Mat Rogers has done, he's done a huge amount for rugby and he's going back to rugby league and back to the Gold Coast, the place where he grew up," Mortlock said.

"I think that decision for (him) makes sense.

"Lote is a bit different, he's got a lot more football left in him and we're very hopeful that he will stay."

When Rogers was asked if he'd like to play against Tuqiri in league he replied: "I would never like to play against him, I'd like to be playing with him again in rugby league".

Lyons, who was sidelined with a back problem mid-year, didn't totally agree with Wallaby coach John Connolly's assessment there had been no negatives on the Wallabies European tour.

"Obviously some of our performances weren't of the standard we'd like and that's a negative I guess, not the consistency that we would want, but at times we played well."

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