BLAKE Austin has once again been named on the wing for Great Britain’s final tour match against Papua New Guinea.
Great Britain has been taking serious hits to its players over the last couple of weeks. The Lions have two of their best players seriously injured in previous games. While in recovery, the lack of these two players’ presence was obvious as Great Britain failed to overcome both New Zealand and Tonga.
Oliver Gildart and Ryan Hall are both recovering from injuries, the former having an injured shoulder, while the latter having an injured knee. Due to these injuries, both players are not going to be fit to play in Christchurch, thus forcing Bennet to find some kind of alternative for both of them.
The alternative for Ryah Hall was quite surprising for both the fans and the pundits. Bennett decided to give the role to Blake Austin, who is a remarkable Rugby player but hasn’t necessarily been seen performing on the wing before.
However, Bennett didn’t seem to bother with checking this information as he is 100% confident in Austin.
According to his words, the 28-year-old Australian was more than fit for the role. Bennett referred to Austin as something like a football player who can play pretty much every single position wherever you put him. It seems like both the manager and the team had great confidence in Austin and for good reason as well.
For the last couple of years, Blake Austin has been becoming a household name in Australia where this sport is extremely popular. Every Aussie rugby fan knows who this man is and has been supporting him the first time they saw him.
However, Austin is nothing of an upcoming star, he is, in fact, an already well established one so to say. His NRL career consists of 122 games in which he has been exceptionally well prepared. However, this could prove to be a slight challenge for Austin, considering that this will be his first time on the wing. Whether or not he’s played on the wing before in a friendly match, we’re talking professionals here, meaning he will have to face players that have years of experience in this position.
Lions still confident
Although it’s true that the Lions haven’t managed to score a win in the last two games, it doesn’t mean that their losses were completely humiliating. The team managed to have a very neck-on-neck game with both New Zealand and Tonga, both of which have exceptionally skilled Rugby players.
The fact that the Lions held their ground against these top performers speaks volumes of what they are capable of once their players recover from their injuries.
However, this resilience during previous matches was not enough to best the Kiwis as the Lions took another loss with a slightly more strenuous match. Austin’s performance could be called very mixed.
Austin had a rough start but quickly recovered
During the first 15 minutes of the match, it was obvious that Austin was still getting used to his new position. He had two major mishaps. One where he failed to catch the ball as it slipped through his hands and the second when he couldn’t maintain distance and was brought down to touch.
However, after these mishaps, it seemed that Austin got the hang of his new position as well as the tactics of the opposing team. The moment the 16th minute kicked in Austin showcased himself as the best ball carriers in the team.
Wayne Bennet was also positively surprised about Austin’s performance saying that he did his best and that was just what he was expecting from him.
However, due to yet another loss during the tour, the Lions may start to get a little bit more criticism from their fans. Coach Bennett needs to quickly find some way to beat Papua New Guinea next Saturday or he may risk replacement by team managers.