Walker tips Wallabies to emulate class of 2001

MEMORY LANE: Andrew Walker in action for Fassifern.
MEMORY LANE: Andrew Walker in action for Fassifern. Claudia Baxter

HAVING played his part in Australia's historic win over the British and Irish Lions 12 years ago, Andrew Walker would love to see the current Wallabies become the second team to achieve the feat.

He just wishes James O'Connor wasn't playing five-eighth.

The series is drawn one win each heading into the decider in Sydney on Saturday, where Walker will have a seat as a guest of honour.

"I think it will be a Wallabies win but not by much," said Walker, who currently captains defending premiers Fassifern in the Ipswich Rugby League A-grade competition.

"I think we can get them with our backline out wide.

"We haven't been as attacking as we could be.

"We need to get it to our big boppers out wide like Izzy (Israel Folau) and Ashley-Cooper.

"Give them the ball and get them in the game early."

Part of the reason Folau and company didn't get the ball they might have was O'Connor is still finding his way as a Test five-eighth.

In the first two Tests he has struggled to get the Wallabies backline flowing fluently and Walker believes there are better options at five-eighth.

"I don't think James O'Connor is a 10," Walker said.

"I'd probably put Kurtley Beale there. I find with Rabbit (O'Connor), he's a really good runner with the ball. I thought Berrick (Barnes) should have been at number 10 with O'Connor at 12."

A former Ipswich Grammar School student, Barnes played fullback in the first game, but missed the second after suffering concussion.

Whatever the result this weekend, Walker will forever retain fond memories of playing against the Lions.

In the first Test in 2001 he scored for the Wallabies in a losing cause.

In the second and third he kicked decisive goals to help the Wallabies get home and win the series.

"I've got good memories," Walker said.

"It was really good to tame the Lions. Not many Australian teams will."

Walker rates it the highlight of a career that has included winning the Bledisloe Cup, Tri-Nations and representing Australia at rugby league.

"That is the pinnacle," he said.

"They're the best side in the world so if you can knock them off it's pretty special."



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