The British & Irish Lions kept up their 100% record in tests against the Wallabies in Brisbane with an excellent 21-23 win at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
The Lions rode their luck a little at the end of the match by giving away two penalties to give the Wallabies two kicks at goal to win the match, but replacement Kurtley Beale missed both of the kicks, the last being the last play of the match.
The Lions had been having issues at the breakdown for the whole game, struggling to deal with the southern hemisphere ref’s interpretation of the breakdown laws, and they were repeatedly pinged for going off their feet.
The Wallabies suffered with an injury hit back line, losing three of their back to injury during the match. The first injury happening in the first minute when Christian Leali’ifano went down under the tackle from Jonathan Davies.
Australia missed two early penalties from the boot of James O’Connor, but they made no mistake in scoring the first points of the match when debutant Israel Folau scored a magnificent try following an opportunist break from Will Genia.
Leigh Halfpenny scored the first points for the Lions from a penalty conceded by Wallaby captain James Horwill at the line out to make the score 7-3.
Then George North scored an outstanding individual try to, breaking from his own 22 to run 80 odd metres through the Wallaby defence and stepping round Berrick Barnes to score in the corner.
Leigh Halfpenny further added to the score with another penalty after 30 mins.
Australia responded immediately with another try from the impressive Wallaby wing Folau, but O’Connor misses the conversion.
After the break, the Wallabies lose replacement centre Pat McCabe to injury and they are forced to put openside flanker Michael Hooper into the centre. The Lions immediately exploit that weakness with Alex Cuthbert charging through the centre channel to score under the posts.
Two more penalties from O’Connor and Beale bring the Wallabies back to within two points with 20 mins left on the clock. Halfpenny responds with another kick of his own before Beale responds again with another penalty from out wide with 10 mins left.
But all the drama was saved for the last ten minutes. The Wallabies kept up the pressure on the Lions, but their problems at the breakdown continued when Mako Vunipola was penalised for going off his feet at the ruck. Beale stepped up to give the Wallabies the shot at the lead with just 7 minutes to go but pushed his kick wide.
The Wallabies continued to pile on the pressure trying to force the error from the Lions and eventually it comes with the penlty being awarded as the scrum collapses in front of the posts. Kurtely Beale has one last chance to give the Wallabies the win with the final kick of the game, but slips as he takes the kick and it sails harmlessly wide.
Referee Chris Pollock blows the final whistle and the Lions are in dreamland. The win gives the Lions a 100% record in test matches against the Wallabies in Brisbane.
Captain Sam Warburton said “That was entertaining that’s for sure. The last 20 minutes was so hard. It’s just such a great achievement to win this first game. ”
The British & Irish Lions now move on to Melbourne where they play the Rebels on Tuesday, followed by the second test match on Saturday.