SYDNEY (AFP) – Wallaby hooker Stephen Moore on Friday said the referee and dominating the scrum held the key to victory in Saturday's series decider against the British and Irish Lions.
The 78-capped Moore believes the inclusion of England prop Alex Corbisiero and Welsh hooker Richard Hibbard is evidence the Lions see the pack as their best chance to get the ball to the Welsh-dominated tourists' backline.
Australia's scrum has had a reputation for being a pushover in recent years but in this series the Wallaby tight five has held its own while the Lions have focused on set-pieces.
The Australians' attitude paid off in the final minutes of last weekend's second Test when they opted for a scrum rather than a kick, a decision which led to a last-gasp win.
The Wallabies are anticipating a physical Lions coming at them, with French referee Romain Poite likely to favour whichever pack is stronger.
"That's going to be really important tomorrow to start well in the pack, they've picked a scrummaging pack and I think they really will come at us in that area," Moore said Friday.
"I think the referee will referee it that way, the dominant team will get rewarded so we have to work hard there."
Poite has a reputation for penalising the retreating scrum and during this year's Six Nations games under his watch the Frenchman averaged six scrum penalties per match - all against the defending side.
"I definitely agree that he's got an excellent knowledge of the scrum and he referees it really well," Moore said.
Irishman Brian O'Driscoll, who won't be playing in what would have been his final Lions Test after being controversially dropped, said of Poite this week: "He's kind of a no-nonsense referee.
"He just likes to be left to referee the game the way he does. I don't think communicating with him too much during the game often has a bearing on what happens. You are not going to change his mind."
Wallabies vice-captain Will Genia said the Lions were set-piece masters.
"The Lions really enjoy the physical side of things. They're probably masters at set piece," Genia said.
"They like to play to the stop-start game, where they get to the set piece, get ascendancy, look to take three points (penalty goal) wherever they can and assert themselves on the game that way."