- Lock praises squad with “fantastic personalities”
- “We had massive belief in what we could do” – Parling
Geoff Parling has revealed that the British and Irish Lions were inspired to a winning performance on Saturday in Sydney by the thought that they may never wear the famous red jersey ever again.
Starting at lock for the second successive Test, Parling was part of a dominant scrum that laid the foundations for a fantastic 41-16 win – sealing a first series victory for the tourists since 1997.
But despite central involvement at the set-piece – the lineout also functioned nicely over the 80 minutes – Parling’s most eye-catching moment in the game came just before half-time when he executed a superb tap-tackle on Wallaby replacement Jesse Mogg, who seemed destined for a momentum-switching try.
“Finally my ultra-long arms came in use for something,” joked the Leicester Tigers second row shortly after the final whistle.
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“I was just glad to get there [and make the tackle] really, but it wasn’t just that – there were massive moments throughout the game and I can’t really put into words how I’m feeling or what it means.”
Still revelling in the news that his wife Elle gave birth to the couple’s second child just over a fortnight ago, Parling suggested that he would have to trade tackle-bags for nappy-changing upon his arrival back in the UK – but not before enjoying a special triumph over Australia.
“We’ve got to celebrate that,” added the 29 year-old. “The way the lads from the four nations have come together is brilliant. This was such a good group of players with some fantastic personalities in.
“The coaches have done a fantastic job of pulling everyone together as a big group from when we went out to Hong Kong. The tour’s flown by – it’s been a bit surreal in a way. I’m just over the moon with what’s happened today and I can’t really put into words how I am feeling right now.
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“If you look at the first two Tests, we haven’t really played – certainly we haven’t had that platform to put our attacking shapes together. That meant there was massive belief in what we could do. I’m just thankful that we went out there and we did it.”
Turning to the desolation of a last-gasp 16-15 loss in the second Test, Parling finished by explaining how Warren Gatland’s tired squad had motivated themselves for one last tilt at the end of an arduous six-week trip.
“For a lot of us, that was probably the last game in that shirt,” he said. “We wanted to make the most of it, because it was potentially the last time we will ever, ever pull that jersey on. We did make the most of it today.
“Big credit to the guys up front because their work didn’t just give us ball and penalties – it really drained the Aussies as well, so massive credit to them.
“It’s got to be the best [moment in my career]. Especially after the frustrations of last week – we were five minutes away from winning the series. I’ve never been that low, so to go from that to this is unbelievable.”