Sam Warburton pleased after perfect preparation with victory ahead of Test series

The Lions captain feels the 47-17 win over the NSW Waratahs is the perfect build-up with just a week to go till the first Test

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The Independent Online

Sam Warburton believes that the New South Waratahs provided the perfect preparation for next week’s first Test match against Australia following the hard-fought 47-17 victory.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny scored an incredible 30 points, which included two tries, four conversions and four penalties, while Jonathan Sexton, Tom Croft and Jonathan Davies also crossed the whitewash.

It wasn’t all the Lions way though, as ‘Tahs centre Tom Carter scored two tries of his own, but Warren Gatland’s side had too much class and power for the Super Rugby side.

“The Waratahs were really tough and I don’t think the score reflected the way they played,” said Warburton, “but we definitely stepped up and I knew we had to.

“I thought the forwards did a great job and the backs were very clinical so I’m very pleased with the performance. From watching the Waratahs we knew they were similar to us and very direct.”

Halfpenny finished up just seven points shy of the all-time individual points record in a game for the Lions set by Alan Old back in 1974 against the South Western Districts.

The Lions finalise their preparations for the Test series when they face the ACT Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday, but attentions are already turning to Saturday’s crunch game.

"That's the bit we're most looking forward to and next week is going to be massive," Warburton added. "Australia are an intensely tough side to play and it's going to be a challenge on Saturday.

"But we first go into the game against the Brumbies and it's going to be another tough one for us so until that game's over we just have to think about that.

"Next week we'll have an edge as there will be more fans in Brisbane and it will be game on."

Warburton’s Welsh teammate Jamie Roberts limped off against the Waratahs, and there are serious doubts over his fitness ahead of the first Test. The Lions have already seen Cian Healy, Gethin Jenkins and Tommy Bowe ruled out due to injury, and there are also knocks to George North, Richie Gray and Manu Tuilagi.