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David Davies/PA Wire George North streaks free for his try.
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'Yes we Kanye' for the Lions as North shines as attacking star in Brisbane
The Welsh trio of Cuthbert, North and Halfpenny combined for all 23 of the Lions’ points.

GEORGE NORTH’S RIGHT hamstring held up to a frantic game of Test match rugby and was the last thing Berrick Barnes saw before his face slumped into the turf. The Wallaby fullback had launched an up and under to the wrong man.

The Welsh winger showed a remarkable burst of speed, agility and evasiveness as he beat three men on the way to the Lions’ opening try. He had time, as he neared the line, to poke a finger in Will Genia’s direction and urge him not to bother with a tackle.

While Australia’s debutant winger Israel Folau briefly, twice, looked as if he might grab all the headlines, North’s compatriots in a menacing back three had the penultimate say – combining for 10 second half points. The final act fell to Kurtley Beale, a man battling back from struggles with alcohol, but his unfortunate slip gave the Lions a lifeline and a 23-21 win.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, North said, “We knew it was going to be a high intensity from the start but the first 20 minutes was something else. The contact area was savage and there were big hits going on around it… we were sprinting flat out from the first minute.” Asked about his 25th minute try, he added:

It was just a case of running hard and, hopefully, the gaps would open. I did and it was just a case, then, of run, run, run, run.”

Cuthbert’s contribution in the first half was shabby. He spilled forward under a Genia box box-kick and was easily stepped by Folau in one dangerous Australian attack. He was selected primarily as a scoring threat and so it proved after 48 minutes when he beat four Aussies to stretch the tourist’s lead.

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Cuthbert (r) and North celebrate after the final whistle. (David Davies/PA Wire)

The right winger commented, “It was a training ground move; we’ve been running it all week. I’m glad I got in there first time as Brian [O'Driscoll] and Jonathan [Davies] were running those lines for me. Full credit to the whole team, we dug deep to get the win.”

Both men saw out a full 80 minutes and were part of a forlorn collection of Lions, standing by their posts as Beale lined up the potential dagger. Cuthbert confessed, “We’ve got bad memories, obviously with Wales, of losing to last-minute [Australian] kicks.”

There was no Mike Harris [surplus to requirements], Quade Cooper [ditto], James O’Connor [confidence ebb] or Berrick Barnes [concussed] to break the hearts of the try-scoring Welshmen and the tourist’s move on to Melbourne 1-0 up.

As it happened: Lions v Australia, 2013 Tour

How the Lions rated in their narrow win over the Wallabies

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