Sydney - The British and Irish Lions roared to a
record 41-16 victory over the Wallabies to claim their first series win in 16
years in the deciding Test on Saturday.
The Lions' victory was built on a dominant
opening half when they exploded to a 19-3 lead, before the Wallabies pulled
back to trail 19-10 at half-time.
But despite having their lead reduced to
three points, the tourists stormed home with three second-half tries before a
record 83 702 crowd.
The Lions overpowered the Wallabies in the
final quarter of the match to finish four tries to one victors, with man of the
match Leigh Halfpenny kicking five penalties and three conversions for an
individual record haul of 21 points - beating Jonny Wilkinson's 18 points in
It was the most points the Lions have
scored in a Test win in Australia, eclipsing their 31-0 victory in Brisbane in
It was a triumph for coach Warren Gatland,
who caused an uproar in Ireland with the dropping of Irish Lions legend Brian
O'Driscoll and fielding a record-equalling 10 Welshmen in the starting XV.
But the Lions responded to the pressure of
the big-match occasion with their three tries inside the final 25 minutes to
win an epic series after taking out the opening game in Brisbane 23-21 a
The large Lions contingent of supporters
celebrated in the final minutes by singing 'Sweet Chariot' in salute to their
team's first series win since South Africa in 1997.
The Lions had a terrific start after
Wallaby lock Kane Douglas knocked on from the kickoff and the tourists went
straight on the attack from a scrum win.
Prop Alex Corbisiero powered over for the
opening try next to the uprights for Halfpenny to convert and give the tourists
a 7-0 lead after two minutes.
George Smith, recalled after four years out
of Test rugby, had a sickening clash of heads with Lions hooker Richard Hibbard
and was led groggily from the field to be assessed by team medics.
Halfpenny consolidated the Lions' lead with
a penalty from near halfway to lead 10-0 but Christian Lealiifano put
Australia's first points on the board with a penalty goal as Smith returned to
French referee Romain Poite penalised the
Australian scrum and Halfpenny made the Wallabies pay with another long-range
penalty to stretch the lead back to 10 points after 13 minutes.
The Lions scrum was dominating and Poite
penalised the Wallabies again, giving Halfpenny an easy shot to extend the lead
to 16-3 in an emphatic start to the Test.
Poite cracked down in the scrum and sent
Wallaby prop Ben Alexander to the sin bin for repeated infringements, giving
Halfpenny another penalty goal and a 19-3 lead after 25 minutes.
It was ninth player the former policeman
Poite had sent to the sin-bin in his last eight Tests.
Everything continued to go against the
Wallabies when their wing ace Israel Folau tweaked his hamstring in running
back after a kick and he made way for debutant Jesse Mogg.
But the Wallabies had the Lions under
pressure on their try-line as the halftime siren sounded, and flyhalf James
O'Connor gave the home side hope when he jinked past Sexton and carried Mike
Phillips's tackle for a converted try and 19-10 scoreline at the break.
And Australia edged closer after the
resumption with the Lions penalised in a maul and Lealiifano kicking a penalty
for the home side to move to within six points.
The Lions were put to the test when Poite
whistled another penalty within kicking range off a maul, and the Wallabies
were down by just three points six minutes into the second half.
However, another dominant Lions scrum gave
Halfpenny his sixth successful kick to give the tourists some breathing space
at 22-16 after 51 minutes.
Sexton kicked the Lions away when he scored
a converted try off a Halfpenny pass in the 56th minute, and the tourists were
in the box seat at 29-16.
The winning break came when Halfpenny
fielded Genia's clearing kick and launched a counter attack, beating the
tackles of Genia and Joe Tomane, to send winger George North racing over for an
unassailable 34-16 lead.
And Jamie Roberts, a controversial
replacement for the dropped O'Driscoll, vindicated Gatland's selection when he
arrowed through for the final try with 11 minutes to go.
Try: James O’Connor.
Conversion: Christian Lealiifano
Penalties: Lealiifano (3)
British and Irish Lions:
Tries: Alex Corbisiero, Jonathan Sexton, George North, Jamie Roberts.
Conversions: Leigh Halfpenny (3)
Penalties: Halfpenny (5)
Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano,
11 Joe Tomane, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7
George Smith, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Kane Douglas, 3
Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson
Saia Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Ben
McCalman, 21 Michael Hooper, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Jesse Mogg
British and Irish Lions:
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14
Tommy Bowe, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North,10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Dan
Lydiate, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 3 Adam Jones, 2
Richard Hibbard, 1 Alex Corbisiero
Substitutes: 16 Tom Youngs, 17
Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Conor
Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Manu Tuilagi