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Phil Vickery: Coach Warren Gatland brave to ring changes

SO THIS IS IT. A shot at history. One massive performance in Melbourne today and a first series victory for 16 years.

 

It's interesting how Warren Gatland is approaching this seminal game in comparison to 12 years ago when we went into the second Test in the same position.

Back then Graham Henry kept exactly the same team after the Lions' win in Brisbane; Warren has swapped a third of his side.

A couple of the changes were forced by injury but the upheaval shows he recognises the team did not play well in the first Test even though they won. 

This is an interesting tactic if it works - but it will be viewed as an even more interesting one if it doesn't.

Warren has never been afraid of upsetting the apple cart. 

What it does do is keep the Lions one step ahead of the Australians, who will have planned to face most of the same faces only to find so many new ones facing them.

Ben Youngs will speed the game up from scrum-half but he also has to be careful not to force it if the Lions are not dominating in the way he is used to his Leicester pack doing.

The Wallabies won't take a backward step and while we might have expected this, the solidity of their scrum has been a surprise.

Alex Corbisiero will be a loss in this area. 

His absence makes this a big game for Mako Vunipola. 

Mako has come a long way in a short time but he has been exposed as slightly frail at the top level.

People forget, though, that he is only 22. Others will have to help him through, but he is capable of delivering.

Some were surprised at Tom Croft's omission as he didn't do too much wrong in the first Test.

But he has suffered by the inclusion of Geoff Parling, who will take over his role as lineout general. 

I hope Geoff introduces more lineout variety. 

I am relieved that Alun Wyn Jones is fit following the James Horwill incident in the first Test.

Horwill was lucky to be cleared over such dangerous footwork, a fact the IRB has picked up on by appealing against the decision.

It seems odd his hearing will be held after this match. You'd almost think it was planned - but I hope for the sake of rugby the right thing is done.

I am expecting more fluidity and shape to this game but a similar nerve-jangling finish. It may well come down to the kickers again.

In 2001, we led at half-time in Melbourne but one interception try and one bad scrum set them away to victory.

I expect today to be close - so close that I wouldn't be surprised to see a draw and the series still alive for Sydney.

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