The British & Irish Lions paid for not pressing on in the second test as Australia took their chance late on to take the win 16-15. Leigh Halfpenny had a chance with a long range kick, but at best it was a long shot given the lack of wind in the enclosed stadium.
The match started with the Lions pack under pressure, but they got that sorted and were able to put pressure on. Sexton did not have one of his best games and with Youngs fizzing passes but not troubling the back row the Aussies were able to stay in touch. 9-12 at half-time was a fair reflection and the lead 9-15 looked ready for Farrell to come in and change the patterns. However the Lions closed up shop and paid the ultimate price. Leali’fano was the big difference for the Aussies as well as he kicked all his shots at goal.
So one win each and all to play for in Sydney next Saturday. There is no doubt that more adventure will be required form both sides if it is to be a classic.
Here are the scorers and teams from the weekend second test:
Penalties: Leali’ifano (3)
British and Irish Lions
Penalties: Halfpenny 5
Australia: Kurtley Beale; Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Leali’ifano, Joe Tomane; James O’Connor, Will Genia; Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, James Horwill, Kane Douglas, Ben Mowen, Michael Hooper, Wycliff Palu.
Replacements: Saia Fainga’a, James Slipper (for Robinson 60), Sekope Kepu (for Alexander 58), Rob Simmons (for Douglas 53), Liam Gill (for Palu 60), Nick Phipps, Rob Horne (for Ashley-Cooper 79), Jesse Mogg.
Lions: Leigh Halfpenny, Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll, Jonathan Davies, George North, Jonathan Sexton, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Richard Hibbard (for T Youngs 56), Ryan Grant, Dan Cole (for Jones 58), Tom Croft (for Warburton 66), Sean O’Brien (for Heaslip 62), Conor Murray (for B Youngs 53), Owen Farrell, Alex Cuthbert.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
The third test is in the ANZ Stadium, Sydney on Saturday 6 July with kick off at 11:00 UK time and live on SkySports.
gatland has either been brave or foolish in his selection depending on your viewpoint. Whatever he has kept faith with the Welsh starting with ten of the fifteen. Hard on BOD being left out especially of the whole squad, he probably offers more than Manu Tuilagi. Big concern is Phillips who was totally outplayed by Genia in the first test and just does not get the back line moving early and at pace. Sexton will need a big game as he was quiet in the second test. Can the Lions win heart says yes, head says they will fall short again.
Here are the teams:
Australia: Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels), Israel Folau (NSW), Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW), Christian Leali’ifano (ACT Brumbies), Joe Tomane (Brumbies), James O’Connor (Melbourne Rebels), Will Genia (Reds); Benn Robinson (NSW), Stephen Moore (ACT), Ben Alexander (ACT), James Horwill (Reds – capt), Kane Douglas (NSW), Ben Mowen (ACT), George Smith (Brumbies), Wycliff Palu (NSW).
Replacements: Saia Fainga’a (Reds), James Slipper (Reds), Sekope Kepu (NSW), Rob Simmons (Reds), Ben McCalman (Western Force), Michael Hooper (NSW), Nick Phipps (Rebels), Jesse Mogg (Brumbies).
British and Irish Lions: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales); Tommy Bowe (Ireland), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Jamie Roberts (Wales), George North (Wales); Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), Mike Phillips (Wales); Alex Corbisiero (England), Richard Hibbard (Wales), Adam Jones (Wales), Alun Wyn Jones (captain, Wales), Geoff Parling (England), Dan Lydiate (Wales), Sean O’Brien (Ireland), Toby Faletau (Wales).
Replacements: Tom Youngs (England), Mako Vunipola (England), Dan Cole (England), Richie Gray (Scotland), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Conor Murray (Ireland), Owen Farrell (England), Manu Tuilagi (England).