9 moments that defined the Lions’ series win against Australia

From George North’s wonder try to Kurtley’s slip, BO’D getting dropped and a dig-out from our favourite French referee.

THE BRITISH AND IRISH Lions won their first Test series since 1997, earlier this year, after staving off an Australian fightback to dominate proceedings in Sydney.

Here are the defining moments of a tour that got us out of our beds and nearly drove us out of our minds.

1. George North’s wonder try

The Aussies rocked the tourists early in the First Test when debutant winger Israel Folau finished off a wonderful Will Genia break to put his side 7-0 up:

YouTube credit: Rugby Highlights

The Lions bounced back through this 60-metre dash from George North, who beat three men, taunted Genia then slid over the tryline:

YouTube credit: Rugby Highlights

2. Kurtley Beale’s slip

Australia had a chance to steal the First Test when Kurtley Beale stepped up for a penalty attempt with 40 seconds to go. The clock neared red as the fullback made a dodgy connection and slipped to the unforgiving turf. “Damn you moldy studs!”

We shared this picture on Facebook so, as you seemed to enjoy it, here it is again:


3. Bowe’s miracle comeback

The Lions team announcement for the Second Test was a barrel of good-time Irish grog as Tommy Bowe got a start on the wing and both Conor Murray and Sean O’Brien were named on the bench. Bowe’s inclusion was nothing less than remarkable as he broke a bone in his hand, against Queensland Reds, that was supposed to rule him out of the series. The Ulsterman met with Dr Peter Rowan in Brisbane, underwent a strict recovery regime, donned a hurling glove and was back three weeks on to play the Wallabies.


Bowe shows off his cool/nasty scar. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

4. Corbisiero’s calf/Mako’s woes

Alex Corbisiero, a late call-up for the injured Cian Healy, lept ahead of Mako Vunipola and Ryan Grant to start the First Test against Australia. A calf injury, however, put him out of the running for the next match in Malbourne. Vunipola was given the nod and stayed on the pitch for 80 minutes. 50 of those minutes made for painful viewing as referee Craig Joubert took offence to the prop’s driving angle at the scrum and awarded four penalties against him.

5. North takes Israel Folau for a ride

The Lions were 12-9 up but creaking across a tiring defensive line and struggling for momentum. North changed that, albeit for 15 minutes, when he astounded all present at the Etihad Stadium by lifting Folau on his shoulders and bringing him for a ride.

YouTube credit: HalfwayLineStaff

The Lions got a penalty immediately afterward and won a penalty that Leigh Halfpenny converted. They led by six points going into the closing stages.

6. Adam Ashley Cooper’s late try

Australia started using Folau up the centre to punch holes in a weary defence. The line was breached with five minutes to go when Jonathan Davies was caught staring at James O’Connor, who fed Cooper to score.


(Credits: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland (top) and AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Christian Leali’ifano, who was knocked out and concussed in the First test, kicked four from four off the tee, including the late conversion as the wallabies won 16-15.

7. Brian O’Driscoll dropped

If anything sounded like the death knell for the Lions, this was it. The Australians had levelled the series and were on the verge of recalling fan favourite George Smith for the finale. Add to that the fact that James Horwill, for the second time in a week, had been cleared of stamping allegations and cleared to play. Warren Gatland, without injured captain Sam Warburton to call on, went buzz-kill on us all by axing Brian O’Driscoll and choosing 10 Welshmen to finish off the job.


O’Driscoll putting the team ahead of his personal disappointment. (Credit: @BrianODriscoll)

8. Leigh Halfpenny’s 50m penalty

Halfpenny had been goalkicking like a dream before his time-elapsed miss in the Second Test. 10 minutes into the decider and the Lions got a penalty on halfway. Captain Alun Wyn Jones asked Halfpenny what he wanted to do and got a curt response: ‘Posts’. Over it flew and Halfpenny never looked back, even playing a huge part in setting up two crucial tries as the series win swept closer.

imageHalfpenny scored 114 points over the course of the tour. (©INPHO/Billy Stickland)

9. Romain Poite referees. Lions front row dominates

Alex Corbisiero was back, Adam Jones never left and Richard Hibbard strapped on his crazy helmet before going to work. The front row put in a beastly effort and were able supported by the five forwards behind them as they battered the home scrum. Romain Poite is not shy in whistling a scrum he feels is struggling or going backwards. So it proved in the Lions 41-16 win as even balls that were spilled forward (accidentally, of course) turned into three-pointers from awarded penalties.

imageDan Lydiate knows what’s coming. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

– This post was first published on 8 July

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