Beale lets Lions off the hook
More than enough in first test to suggest Wallabies will improve and are capable of coming back as they did 12 years ago
By then Beale had replaced Barnes, who suffered a neck injury in a clash with Folau and North, and McCabe would follow, meaning flanker Michael Hooper moved to midfield. The Lions ruthlessly exploited this off another lineout drive, Youngs taking it into contact before O’Driscoll ran a straight decoy line to check O’Connor and Sexton found Cuthbert on the wrap to beat Hooper and Beale, and score.
However, the Lions were frequently incurring the wrath of Pollock at the breakdown, penalties by O’Connor and Beale making it a two point game before Sexton brilliantly gathered his own chip and offloaded to the supporting Paul O’Connell, who had a truly mighty game along with the excellent Jones.
A stunning counter by Beale, leaving Warburton and Richard Hibbard in his wake, the fullback’s own penalty and a turnover scrum against the Lions five metres from the Wallabies line lead to that nerve-wracking finale.
But there’s a sequel or two left in this drama yet.
Scoring sequence: 13 mins Folau try, O’Conor con 7-0; 25 mins Halfpenny pen 7-3; 26 mins North try, Halfpenny con 7-10; 32 mins Halfpenny pen 7-13; 35 mins Folau try 12-13; (half-time 12-13); 49 mins Cuthbert try, Halfpenny con 12-20; 50 mins O’Connor pen 15-20; 61 mins Beale pen 18-20; 66 mins Halfpenny pen 18-23; 68 mins Beale pen 21-23.
Australia: Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs); Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs), Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs), Christian Leali’ifano (Brumbies), Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds); James O’Connor (Melbourne Rebels), Will Genia (Queensland Reds); Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Ben Alexander (Brumbies); Kane Douglas (NSW Waratahs), James Horwill (Queensland Reds, captain); Ben Mowen (Brumbies), Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs), Wycliffe Palu (Melbourne Rebels). Replacements: Pat McCabe (Brumbies) for Leali’ifano (1 min), Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels) for Barnes (39 mins), Liam Gill (Queensland Reds) for McCabe (48 mins), Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs) for Alexander (58 mins), James Slipper (Queensland Reds) for Robinson, Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds) for Douglas (both 69 mins), Nick Phipps (Melbourne Rebels) for Ashley-Cooper (77 mins). Not used: Saia Fainga’a (Queensland Reds).
British & Irish Lions: Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues/Wales); Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster/Ireland), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/Wales), George North (Scarlets/Wales); Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/Ireland), Mike Phillips (Bayonne/Wales); Alex Corbisiero (London Irish/England), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England), Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales); Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales), Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland); Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers/England), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues/Wales, capt) Jamie Heaslip (Leinster/Ireland). Replacements: Makovina Vunipola (Saracens/England) for Corbisiero, Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers/England) for Adam Jones (both 51 mins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England) for Phillips (62 mins), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys/Wales) for Tom Youngs (65 mins), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers/England) for A Wyn Jones (71 mins), Dan Lydiate (Dragons/Wales) for Croft (73 mins). Not used: Owen Farrell (Saracens/England), Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland).
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand).