22 Jun 2013

British and Irish Lions beat Australia in first rugby test

The British and Irish Lions hang on for a 23-21 win over Australia in an enthralling first rugby union test in Brisbane on Saturday.

Replacement Australia fullback Kurtley Beale missed two penalties (pic: Reuters)

Replacement Australia fullback Kurtley Beale missed two penalties in the final 10 minutes which could have snatched victory for the hosts.

Welsh wingers George North and Alex Cuthbert scored tries in each half and compatriot Leigh Halfpenny added 13 points with the boot as the tourists took a precious lead in the three-test series.

“That was entertaining, that’s for sure,” a beaming Lions captain Sam Warburton said in a pitchside interview.

“The last 20 minutes were so hard and we really had to dig in. Credit to Australia.”

Winger Israel Folau scored two first-half tries in a brilliant debut for the Wallabies but three of his team mates in the backline went off injured in the first 47 minutes to hinder their challenge.

‘Freak of a talent’

“We’ll take a lot of confidence,” Australia captain James Horwill said. “At the end we’ve got to be a bit more clinical and make the most of our opportunities.

“He (Folau) is a freak of a talent. He’s got that X-factor – when he gets his hands on the ball things can happen.”

The Lions face the Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday before the second test in the same city on Saturday.

“Tough game wasn’t it?,” Lions coach Warren Gatland said.

“The first half we scrummaged well, the line-out was good but we’re disappointed with our game management.

“We gave them a couple of soft three pointers, but it shows how close this series is going to be. We saw some great tries out there by both sides. Could have gone either way but we’ll take that.”