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22nd Jun 2013

Australia 21-23 The British and Irish Lions as it happened

An absorbing first test ended with a test win for the Lions in Brisbane but it wasn't decided, literally, until the final whistle. Here's how it went down in the Suncorp Stadium.

Conor Heneghan

An absorbing first test ended with a test win for the Lions in Brisbane but it wasn’t decided, literally, until the final whistle. Here’s how it went down in the Suncorp Stadium.

Full-time Australia 21-23 Lions


The Lions will obviously be delighted with winning the test but that was a far from vintage performance and the Aussies will feel that it’s one that got away. With three players going off injured from their backs division (including a replacement) and a number of kicks going astray, they were unlucky to a certain extent but you make your own luck in sport and above any nation, the Aussies aren’t ones for wallowing in self-pity.

As far as positives are concerned, George North was oustanding yet again and the set-pieces went OK, while from an Irish perspective, Jonny Sexton had a very good second half and Jamie Heaslip was outstanding.

We thought the Aussies might be slow to come to the boil but they finished strongly and will be highly motivated to put things right in Melbourne next weekend. Great start for the Lions but this series is far from over.

Thanks for tuning in and roll on next week.


Would you believe it, he’s slipped! The kick bobbles its way over the end line and the Lions have a victory in the first test. Kurtley Beale looks devastated and you’d have to feel for him but it was missed kicks that cost the Aussies this game, not just Beale but James O’Connor too.


Oh God, another penalty to Australia arising out of a Lions scrum and Beale has a chance to as Jeff Daniels’ character in Dumb and Dumber might say ‘totally redeem himself’. Definitely a more difficult kick, but has he got it in him? This will be the winning or losing of the match.


The word ‘choke’ featuring prominently on Twitter right now while Joe Brolly one of a number of people to compare Kurtley Beale to a certain Tyrone goalkeeper.


Oh, that’s a miss and a half. He’s kicked far harder penalties than that already but after a build-up that seemed to take an age, he sends it to the right of the posts. Huge, huge miss.


Penalty Australia and what a huge kick this could be. Vunipola off his feet and Beale has a simple looking kick in front of the posts to put the Wallabies in the lead.


Stolen by the Wallabies, Genia hacks it clear and Folau claims it on the wing. Aussies now in possession inside the Lions half.


Brilliant chase from the Lions after a very good kick from Jonathan Sexton, Brian O’Driscoll holds up Hooper and the Lions get a scrum in an excellent position in the 22. Alun Wyn Jones off and Parling on for the Lions.


And he nails it. Big 12 minutes left


Straight down the other end and it’s a penalty for the Wallabies after a magnificent break from Kurtley Beale. A bit of cynicism from the Lions (POC) to slow the move down and in a normal game it might be cause for a yellow, but the Aussies have been guilty of similar offences throughout and haven’t been punished yet. Big kick for Beale.


Halfpenny pings it over the bar, straight and true and the Lions lead is back to five with 15 minutes left. Hibbard on for Youngs at hooker.


Penalty to the Lions and what should be a very kickable one for Halfpenny after a good move involving Sexton, O’Connell and Jamie Heaslip, who, to be fair, has been excellent.


And he’s got it. A patched-up Aussies well in this and if they could pull it off it would be some result. Phillips off, Youngs on and that’s no real surprise, the Welshman has been poor today.


Not the first time Jonathan Sexton has tried that dink over the top but his intended recipient, Jonathan Davies, is taken out of it, whether it was intentional or not. In any case, Aussies claim the ball, eventually win a penalty and could cut the deficit back to two. Kurtley Beale takes over the kicking duties.


Lovely Lions move foiled by a knock-on from Brian O’Driscoll but it wasn’t really his fault, the pass from Tom Croft was unnecessarily high and, looking at the replay, was forward. With 23 minutes left this game is delicately poised.


The Cuthbert try…

Video via YouTube/Jeffrey Molloy 


Vunipola and Cole on for Corbisiero and Jones in the Lions front row


Instant response from Australia, as O’Connor knocks over a penalty to reduce the deficit to five. Wallabies needed that one to stem the Lions tide.


Another brilliant touch down by the Lions, this time by North’s compatriot Alex Cuthbert, who comes off a pass from Sexton and flies through and over the line to stretch the Lions lead. TMO questioned because of a (possibly intentional) collision between O’Driscoll and O’Connor in midfield but try given and Halfpenny adds the extras. Brilliant stuff.



Another man down for the Aussies and it’s Pat McCabe, who is already on as a substitute for Leali’ifano, who went off in the first minute. Liam Gill on in his stead, which means back-row Michael Hooper goes to centre.


Mike Phillips snipe goes wrong and he’s pinged for a penalty, it hasn’t been his day so far to be honest. Thankfully for the Lions, it hasn’t been James O’Connor’s day either. Will Genia, on the other hand…


And we’re back underway in Brisbane.




Great move by the Lions started by Corbisiero with a great break in midfield, followed up by Sexton, O’Driscoll and Jonathan Davies and the Lions earn a penalty only yards from the Lions line. On Sky, Stuart Barnes is apoplectic and calling for a yellow card to punish Aussie cynicism, but it doesn’t come and worse… Halfpenny does the unthinkable ad misses the kick.


An absolutely sickening, and completely accidental, clash of heads between Berrick Barnes and Israel Folau and Australia might be about to lose the second member of their back-line in the first half. Barnes stretchered off and the enigmatic but hugely talented Kurtley Beale on in his stead.


Folau strikes for his second of the night with a lovely try in the corner which Jonny Sexton won’t want to see again in a hurry having been left for dead on the left wing. TMO checks for a forward pass, but no sign of it in the replay and try is awarded. O’Connor misses yet another kick and the Lions hold onto the lead.




We don’t think so, elbow hit the line first. We’ll soon know for sure. Good defensive work by Folau though.

No try, back for a penalty which Halfpenny converts. As you would expect him to do, of course. 13-7 Lions.


What a difference a few minutes make. Lions now very much with their tails up, O’Driscoll chases a nice Davies kick to the corner, Genia with no choice but to run it out and Lions have a line0out only metres from the Wallaby line.


What a try that was George North. Having fielded a garryowen just outside his 22, he set off and beat four defenders in a brilliant solo run before finishing in the corner. Brilliant stuff and an equally brilliant conversion by Halfpenny to put the Lions in the lead. Game on.




And with good reason. Halfpenny nails it.


Penalty for the Lions after O’Connell claims a Youngs lineout. You’d fancy Halfpenny from here.


Ronan O’Gara, for one, not happy with the ref so far…


Genia looking dangerous once again but great work by Jonny Sexton to hold up the Aussie attack and win a scrum for the Lions in their own 22.


The ref and Mike Phillips coming in for grief on the Twitter machine, the ref for somehow deeming advantage was over and Phillips, well, for appearing to give up. Lions now looking sloppy and indecisive, that’s what conceding a try will do to you.


Well how about that from Will Genia? Penalty Australia in the Lions 22′, Genia takes it quickly and embarks on a magnificent run that takes him within sight of the Lions line, quick kick through for Folau, who runs it in under the posts. O’Connor taps over the conversion and it’s a perfect start for the Wallabies.




Excellent scrum by the Lions and after a good lineout, they’re in a promising position inside the Australia 22…


And again O’Connor misses, this time to the left. Can’t be good for the confidence.


Another penalty to Australia in the exact same spot and again it’s O’Driscoll that’s punished. BOD can’t believe it but the ref feels the need to have a word, obviously having a different interpretation at the breakdown that BOD does, words that have just been repeated by Stuart Barnes.


Doesn’t make it and the Lions get off the hook. Leali’ifano injury has obviously had an effect but quiet enough start to the game.


Sexton cross-kick towards Cuthbert doesn’t quite work and O’Driscoll eventually pinged for a penalty that seems a bit harsh to be honest. James O’Connor with the chance to knock over the first points of the test series…


Huge hit put in already, albeit an unintentional one by Christian Leali’ifano, who bounced off Jonathan Davies in midfield and does not look good as a result. Leali’ifano set to go off on a stretcher and Pat McCabe coming on in his place. Huge blow for the Aussie centre, Brian O’Driscoll will know well how he feels right now.


Jonny Sexton gets us underway…


A lot of support for the Lions when we put a shout out for a few predictions on our Facebook page. A few going for the Aussies as well but interestingly no-one thinks it will be any more than a few points. We’d tend to agree.


Lions are out on the pitch to a cauldron of noise and the Wallabies follow closely after. Atmosphere is electric, let’s hope we have a game to match it.


In fairness to Sky, though, they did put together a lovely compilation of good luck wishes from some of the most well-known sporting figures from Britain and Ireland, including our own Robbie Keane along with David Beckham, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and others. Princes William and Harry also got involved as well. Nice touch.


Sky obviously have a job to do to build up these tests but it wouldn’t be stressing it to say that they’ve gone a little bit over the top. This sums up their approach fairly well…


Not surprisingly, Irish fans are conspicuous by their presence in Brisbane and they’ve brought some brilliant flags along to the party.

This Waltzing O’Driscoll one was sent into us on Twitter by Jenny Lennon..

And you may have spotted this brilliant Paul O’Connell one on the site a few weeks ago, but it’s going to take pride of place in the Suncorp tonight…



Good morning Lions fans and welcome to our live coverage of the first test between the British and Irish Lions and Australia. Judging by the buzz on social media and elsewhere, the atmosphere is building very nicely for a game that we have been waiting weeks to see  and here’s hoping it lives up to expectations.

If you can’t catch it live, or even if you can but want to interact with ourselves and the countless others watching on, we’re going minute by minute on all the action from the Suncorp as well as keeping you up to date with whatever amusing match-related material we happen to stumble upon over the next couple of hours.

Only half an hour or so to until kick-off, so get the kettle on, hell even pour yourself an 11am beer we won’t judge and prepare to settle in for what should be a cracking morning of rugby. Go Lions. Grrrrrrrrrr.