Lions hold on in first test as Beale misses

13:57, Jun 22 2013
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Ireland lock Paul O'Connell, who led the Lions to South Africa in 2009, feels the Hong Kong heat as the touring side take on the Barbarians.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Takudzwa Ngwenya of the Barbarians is tackled by the Lions' Welsh duo of Jamie Roberts and Adam Jones, right.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Wales halfback Mike Phillips dives over to score for the Lions against the Barbarians.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Ireland and Lions first-five Johnny Sexton lines up a shot at goal against the Barbarians.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
British and Irish fans are in fine voice as the Lions arrive in Perth to take on Super Rugby side, the Western Force.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
England and Lions centre Manu Tuilagi takes a run at the Western Force defence.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Irish wing Tommy Bowe shows why he was selected to tour despite missing the Six Nations for Ireland with injury.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Celtic cousins: An Irish fan and a Welsh fan unite to support the Lions.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Lions tour captain Sam Warburton takes in the atmosphere in Perth. He is yet to start a game because of injury.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Irish legend Brian O'Driscoll leads out the Lions to face the Western Force.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Lions and England prop Mako Vunipola charges at the Force defence.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Not many Scots featured for the Lions against the Force but there was plenty Scottish spirit on display in the stands.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Powerful Irish flanker Sean O'Brien tries to use some fancy footwork to get the ball past the Force's Corey Brown.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny landed 100 per cent of his attempts at goal for the Lions against the Force.
British and Irish Lions Tour 2013
Lions coach Warren Gatland looks very pleased after his side comfortably beats the Western Force in Perth.
Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell
Ben Youngs (left) is congratulated by Owen Farrell after his second half try against Queensland.
Tommy Bowe
Tommy Bowe, with his right arm in a sling, is consoled by Richard Hibbard.
Richie Gray
Richie Gray reaches back to pull down a lineout throw.
George North
Lions wing George North fends off a Queensland Reds player.
Owen Farrell
Lions first-five Owen Farrell takes a penalty kick at goal.
Ben Tapuai
Queensland's Ben Tapuai is tackled high by a Lions player.
Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton leads the Lions out onto Suncorp Stadium in his debut match.
Sean O'Brien
Lions forward Sean O'Brien dives over to score in the corner, one of 10 tries in the 64-0 rout.
Sean Maitland
Sean Maitland skips away from the tackle of a Country Combined defender.
Brian O'Driscoll
Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll is upended in a tackle in Newcastle.
Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll slides over to score against Country Combined.
Toby Faletau
Lions No 8 Toby Faletau prepares to pack down into the scrum.
Lions fans
Three Lion-hooded fans watch the tourists rout Combined Country in Newcastle.
Lions v Waratahs
Jamie Heaslip of the Lions charges upfield during the match between the NSW Waratahs and the British & Irish Lions.
Lions v Waratahs
Rob Kearney of the Lions breaks with the ball during the match between the NSW Waratahs and the British & Irish Lions.
Lions v Waratahs
Jamie Roberts of the Lions is tackled by John Ulugia during the match between the NSW Waratahs and the British & Irish Lions.
Lions v Waratahs
Simon Zebo of the Lions is tackled by Bernard Foley (L) and John Ulugia during the match between the NSW Waratahs and the British & Irish Lions.
Lions vs Brumbies
British & Irish Lions wing Christian Wade leaps for a high-ball against the Brumbies' Ian Prior during their tour match at Canberra Stadium.
ACT Brumbies
ACT Brumbies players celebrate their 14-12 victory over the British & Irish Lions.
Rory Best
Match captain Rory Best lead the dejected British & Irish Lions off the field.
Shane Williams
Lions wing Shane Williams tries to escape the grasp of Henry Speight.
Clyde Rathbone
Brumbies wing Clyde Rathbone is hit by Christian Wade (left) and Rob Kearney.
Billy Twelvetrees
Lions centre Billy Twelvetrees is lifted off his feet in the tackle by Matt Toomua.
Jamie Heaslip and Alex Cuthbert
Jamie Heaslip (left) celebrates after Alex Cuthbert (centre) scored to give the British & Irish Lions the lead.
George North
George North punches the ball in celebration after scoring in the first half for the Lions.
George North
Israel Folau denies George North a try in the corner.
Lions win first test
Lions players celebrate at the final whistle of the first test in Brisbane.
Lions win first test
The victorious Lions walk up the players' tunnel to the applause of the fans.
Kurtley Beale
Kurtley Beale slips as he attempts to kick a potential match-winning penalty.
Jonathan Davies and Kurtley Beale
Jonathan Davies (right) gets up-ended as he collides in the air with Kurtley Beale.
Israel Folau
Israel Folau dives over to score one of his two tries in the first half.
Christian Lealiifano
Christian Lealiifano is stretchered off in the opening minutes of the first test.
Lions fans
A trio of Irish Lions fans at Suncorp Stadium.
Lions fans
A fired-up Lions fan celebrates the first test victory.
Will Genia
Wallabies halfback Will Genia is hit by Jamie Heaslip as he attempts to kick.
Sean Maitland
Kiwi-born Scottish international Sean Maitland goes over for one of the British & Irish Lions five tries in their 35-0 rout of the Melbourne Rebels.
Manu Tuilagi
Lions centre Manu Tuilagi skips out of the grasp of the Melbourne Rebels' Jason Woodward.
Simon Zebo
Simon Zebo finds space against the Melbourne Rebels.
Rob Sidey and Brad Barritt
Melbourne's Rob Sidey is tackled off his feet by Brad Barritt.
Lions fans
Five Lions fans spell out their support in Melbourne.
Cooper Vuna and Stuart Hogg
Melbourne's Cooper Vuna collides with Stuart Hogg going up for a high-ball.
Adam Ashley-Cooper
Wallabies fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper celebrates his match-winning try late in the second test.
George North and Israel Folau
Lions wing George North lifts Israel Folau off the ground in the tackle.
Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny successfully kicks a penalty in the second half.
Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny is consoled by Jonathan Sexton (left) and Sean Maitland after his extra-time penalty to win fell short.
Wallabies celebrate
Wallabies players James Horwill and Benn Robinson celebrate as Leigh Halfpenny's kick misses.
Sam Warburton
Lions captain Sam Warburton is helped from the field during the second test.
Mako Vunipola
Lions prop Mako Vunipola charges through the Wallabies' defence.
Mako Vunipola
Mako Vunipola wipes his face during a break in play.
Alun Wyn Jones
Alun Wyn Jones receives some treatment on his legs.
George North
Lions wing George North evades two Wallabies players.
Lions fans
Lions fans at Etihad Stadium before the second test.
Lions fans
Lions fans at Etihad Stadium before the second test.
Jonathan Sexton, Jamie Roberts, Conor Murray
Jamie Roberts (centre) and Conor Murray congratulate Jonathan Sexton on his second half try.
Alex Corbisiero
Lions prop Alex Corbisiero squeezes over for the first try of the deciding test.
Lions celebrate
Lions players and staff celebrate their third test and series victory in Sydney.
Lions celebrate
Lions and Wallabies players show contrasting emotions at the final whistle.
Jamie Roberts
Centre Jamie Roberts dives over for a second half try that sealed the Lions' victory.
James O'Connor
Justin Tipuric is fended off by Wallabies first-five James O'Connor.
Dan Lydiate
Lions lock Dan Lydiate rises high to take the ball from a lineout.
Jamie Roberts
Centre Jamie Roberts sprints away from the chasing Wallabies defence.
Jonathan Sexton
Jonathan Sexton celebrates the series victory with Lions fans in the stands.
Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll, dropped for the third test, celebrates the team's victory.
Lions fans
Lions fans pay tribute to former captain Brian O'Driscoll.
Lions celebrate
Injured captain Sam Warburton holds the series trophy after victory at ANZ Stadium.

Australia's Kurtley Beale slipped over and missed a dramatic last-minute penalty to hand the British and Irish Lions a thrilling 23-21 first test victory at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

The Lions had led from the 26th minute when winger George North scored the first of their two tries but Israel Folau's brace in a brilliant test debut had kept the Wallabies in touch.

Beale, who had played little more than half an hour of senior rugby in the last four months as he battled alcohol problems, had come on as a replacement for one of three Wallabies backs who were taken off the pitch on a stretcher.

The 24-year-old was unable to steal the victory for the home side, however, losing his footing as he ran up to attempt a penalty from 46 metres with seconds remaining.

"It was way too close for comfort. The last 20 minutes was so hard, we really had to dig in," Lions skipper Sam Warburton said in a pitchside interview. "Only half the job done."

The Lions, roared on by at least half the stadium record 52,499 crowd, also had a try from winger Alex Cuthbert, while Leigh Halfpenny added 13 points with the boot to keep the tourists on course for a first series victory since 1997.

"We knew it was going to be tight," said Lions coach Warren Gatland. "In all, not the prettiest performance but I think it was a victory we deserved."

The winner of a first Lions test nearly always takes the series but the home side will take heart from the fact that the exceptions have been in Australia, where the tourists rallied to win in 1989 and the Wallabies came back to triumph in 2001.

"It was very frustrating but I'm proud of the effort we put in," said Australia coach Robbie Deans.

"It was a courageous performance that would stack up alongside any but it disappointing not to get the reward."

As expected, the match was a bruising encounter from the off and Wallabies centre Christian Lealiifano's test debut was ended after less than a minute by a head injury sustained in tackling Jonathan Davies.

Lealiifano had been the nominated place kicker and when Lions centre Brian O'Driscoll was twice penalised at the breakdown and the Wallabies had the chance to open the scoring, O'Connor missed both penalties.

The Lions hit back with a huge shove to win a penalty at the second scrum and kicked for touch before running through around twenty phases deep inside the Wallabies half.

The Australians held firm through a penalty advantage and then won one of their own on their 22 metre line after 14 minutes, Genia taking a quick tap and setting off up the field.

The scrumhalf turned his opposite number Mike Phillips inside and out and kept going before just about getting the ball onto his foot for a wild grubber kick which Folau gathered to sprint across the line.

Halfpenny cut the deficit by three points 10 minutes later and North, a doubt for the match earlier in the week because of a hamstring strain, soon gave the tourists the lead.

Berrick Barnes launched an up-and-under and North swallowed it up, swerving past the tackle of O'Connor, storming through a huge gap in the defence before rounding Barnes and pulling away to score.

The Welshman nearly had a second try in the same corner three minutes later but Folau's tackle just forced his elbow into touch before he could ground the ball. Halfpenny made no mistake with the consolation penalty to put the Lions 13-7 up.

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If it was to be a battle between two powerful wingers, Folau was not done yet and two minutes later he had his brace.

Genia's loop in the midfield gave Australia an extra man but when the ball found Folau on the wing, he apparently had nowhere to go.

In an echo of Jason Robinson's try for the Lions in Brisbane in 2001, though, Folau's step took him past Jonny Sexton, his power through the tackle of Halfpenny and the line opened up in front of him.

O'Connor missed the conversion - the Wallabies left 14 points on the kicking tee during the match - and to make matters worse, the hosts lost fullback Barnes to a head injury, allowing Beale to enter the fray.

His first duties were defensive as the Lions charged back into the Wallabies half with a break up the middle from prop Alex Corbisiero taking them within a couple of metres of the home side's line.

The Wallabies infringed at the subsequent ruck but Halfpenny missed only his second placekick on the tour and the Lions had to be satisfied with a 13-12 halftime lead.

Seven minutes into the second half, the Australians lost a third back, Pat McCabe, to a neck injury forcing flanker Michael Hooper to move into the centres where he started his career.

His first contribution in the backline was a flailing tackle that missed Alex Cuthbert as the Lions winger burst through the midfield and beat two more defenders to touch down.

O'Connor and then Beale kicked penalties for the home side before Halfpenny slotted his third to give the Lions a 23-18 lead with 15 minutes to go.

Beale then added his second penalty, set up by his own break up the middle, but shanked a third with five minutes remaining to keep the Lions just ahead for the dramatic climax.

British & Irish Lions 23 (Alex Cuthbert, George North tries Leigh Halfpenny 2 cons 3 pens) Australia 21 (Israel Folau 2 tries James O'Connor con Kurtley Beale 2, O'Connor pens) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Chris Pollock. Crowd: 52,499

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Reuters