Lions Tour - Phillips, Roberts and Corbisiero in line for decider

The British and Irish Lions hope that Jamie Roberts and Alex Corbisiero will return to full training on Wednesday, putting them in contention for next weekend's decider against Australia in Sydney.

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Lions Tour - Phillips, Roberts and Corbisiero in line for decider
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Jamie Roberts, centre, could return to full training on Wednesday

And scrum-half Mike Phillips also hopes to take part in Sydney having been rested on Saturday with a knee problem.

Phillips was a surprise omission from Saturday's squad having declared himself fit, but team coaches decided it would be best to rest him.

Roberts, the Wales centre, has yet to play in the Test series because of a hamstring problem, while England prop Corbisiero suffered a calf injury in the opener at Suncorp Stadium.

"There are a few boys training tomorrow and they will go hard. The rest of the squad have a couple of days off and we'll train on Wednesday and Thursday," assistant coach Andy Farrell said. "People like Alex Corbisiero and Jamie Roberts will go hard tomorrow and hopefully be right for full training on Wednesday."

Hulking Welshman Phillips played in the opener in Brisbane which the Lions edged 23-21.

Backs coach Rob Howley told reporters before the match that the coaches had decided that, while available, Phillips had been rested because of a knee injury he sustained in the tour opener against the Barbarians in Hong Kong.

"When Rob Howley told me I hadn't been selected for the second test it was absolutely devastating news. My heart sank and I had a weird feeling in my stomach," Phillips told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"Rob said the coaches had taken the decision to rest me from Saturday's game because of my knee, but I'm a proud man and I still felt I could have done a job for the team."

The Lions have been installed as marginal favourites to win the third and final Test at ANZ Stadium, but the momentum is with Australia following their dramatic victory in Melbourne.

"The reality is that it's 1-1 after two good teams have gone at it hammer and tongs. We're both still in the race," Farrell said.

"I'm proud of the way we stuck at it. We were lucky to get away with a win in the first game and in the second game we could have won. After those two games 1-1 is a fair way to look at the series.

"We've come to Noosa for a couple of days off and we'll lick our wounds and get back to what we have to do on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. We all realise it's the biggest game of our lives and we'll see what comes of it.

"I wouldn't say Australia are in the driving seat. I'd say they're very pleased - it was a do or die situation for them and they rose to the challenge. It was a one-point game that could have gone either way and both teams will be confident about next week."

The Lions could have snatched victory with the last kick of the game only for Leigh Halfpenny, who has been in magnificent form with the boot all tour, to fall short with his long-range attempt.

"Leigh's a perfectionist and is a little bit hurt, but if that kick had gone over it would have been a miracle because it was a hell of a long way out," Farrell said. "He asks a lot of himself and the way he has been kicking he'd have expected it to go over. He had an excellent kicking game again."

Phillips, who started all three test on the last Lions tour to South Africa, had a brilliant match in Hong Kong which probably sealed his place in the team for the first test.

Unfortunately for a player whose physicality is a key part of his game, he also sustained the injury to his knee and he has been under management by the medical team ever since.

"It twisted and I felt something go and since then I've just been trying to get it to settle down." Phillips said.

"Initially it swelled up like a balloon on the flight from Hong Kong and I'm sure the medical guys thought, 'this isn't good', and that they would have to send me home.

"It was pretty scary at the start. I think everyone feared the worst but I was determined to stay on the tour and worked really hard to make sure I stayed part of it."

While Phillips admits he is not 100 hundred percent fit, he maintains he could still play a major role in helping the Lions to their first series triumph since 1997.

That remains a possibility after his replacement as starting scrumhalf, England's Ben Youngs, failed to grasp his opportunity, albeit while working with a gameplan that did not play to his strengths as a running halfback.

"I'm desperate to play next week, of course, but whether the coaches make that call is up to them," Phillips added.

"I don't want people feeling sorry for me or thinking that I'm making excuses. It is what it is. I played in the first test and we won so no one can take that away from me."

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