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Lions rugby legend loves Wallabies style
Adrian Warren
19:31 AEST Wed Jun 20 2012

Scottish rugby legend and British and Irish Lions manager Andy Irvine is predicting a mouth-watering series against the Wallabies next year, but says too many Tests are won by the poorer team.

Irvine, who dazzled rugby fans with his brilliant attacking play in 51 Tests for Scotland and nine for the Lions, is an unabashed admirer of Australia's style.

"I would pay money to go and watch them every week," Irvine said in Sydney on Wednesday at a one-year countdown to the Lions tour.

However, he isn't enamoured by the way most rugby Tests are settled.

"I think far too many games are won and lost by penalty goals and sometimes on very marginal refereeing decisions," Irvine said.

"I feel sorry for the referees because a lot of these decisions, it's almost a 50-50 call.

"I would say the way the laws are, too many games are won by the poorer side and I would like to see much more emphasis on tries."

Irvine didn't say he wanted the pointscoring values changed, though he hinted that might be valid for penalty kicks of vastly different distances.

"Is a penalty goal form 55 yards the same (value) as a penalty goal that's conceded five yards from the try line?," Irvine queried.

The Lions only tour Australia every 12 years and their visit in 2013 may be responsible for ensuring the Wallabies stars resisted the lure of going to cashed up overseas clubs following last year's World Cup.

"(Wallabies coach) Robbie (Deans) said the best thing that ever happened to him was the Lions tour coming here in 2013," Irvine said.

"Because the Australian boys wanted to play so much in that series that none of them signed for big money.

"Next year's contest is going to be absolutely riveting, an absolutely thrilling contest, a great spectacle."

Irvine is drawing encouragement from several strong performances by northern hemisphere teams away to their major southern hemisphere rivals in the last couple of weeks.

Scotland beat Australia, Wales and Ireland narrowly lost to the Wallabies and New Zealand respectively and England pushed South Africa.

"I would say that the gap is narrowing and I have to say I'm greatly encouraged," Irvine said.

He witnessed the Scots upset win over the Wallabies in terrible conditions in Newcastle.

"Can I be honest - we don't even get weather like that in Scotland," joked Irvine.

Regarding the Lions' head coach for 2013, Irvine said negotiations were continuing with Wales' Six Nations-winning coach Warren Gatland.


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