AUSTRALIA …….. 21 pts
LIONS ……………. 23 pts
Jonny Sexton and Brian O’Driscoll led by example as the Lions escaped from Brisbane with a first test win after Australian kicker Kurtley Beale’s slip-up.
The two Irishmen were to the fore of all that was good as Warren Gatland’s team held on for the win after some late, late drama.
Beale had a kick to win the game with just seconds left on the clock but slipped as he was about to make contact with the ball and his effort fell short.
It was the second chance to win the game that Beale missed in the final five minutes as an injury ravaged Australia came so close to spoiling the night for the tourists in Brisbane.
A thrilling contest saw the Lions lead 13-12 at half-time after brilliant individual tries, two from Aussie debutant Israel Folau and one stunning effort from Lions winger George North.
Welsh full-back Leigh Halpenny added eight points from the boot to build-up that slender half-time lead for the tourists.
They added a third try through Alex Cuthbert after the break but the boot of replacement kicker Beale brought Australia within two points before that dramatic finale.
Lions coach Gatland said: “Tough game wasn’t it? 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.”
Captain Sam Warburton added: “That was entertaining, that’s for sure. It was way too close for comfort. The last 20 minutes was so hard, we really had to dig in. Credit to Australia, we can expect a lot more from the last two Tests. Only half the job done.
“It’s out of your control when the opposition have a kick in the last minute. It’s a massive delight, we’ve got some momentum, we’ve got the balling rolling and we’re looking forward to next week.”