Halfpenny inspires Lions to series win

20:10, Jul 06 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.

At long last, a definitive outcome before the final play of a emotionally taut test between the Wallabies and British and Irish Lions.

For the first time since the first nerve-jangling instalment in Brisbane, the result of the decider did not hinge on a failed penalty kick after the siren with the Lions ending three series' of torment - including a dramatic loss to the Wallabies here in 2001 - with an emphatic 41-16 triumph at ANZ Stadium in Sydney tonight.

While the polarising Waikato-turned-Wales coach Warren Gatland can feel vindicated in including 10 of his Six Nations-winning squad in a starting line-up missing Irish legend Brian O'Driscoll, fellow former All Black Robbie Deans future with the Wallabies is again in jeopardy.

A Lions series victory - their first since South Africa in 1997 - will not keep the wolves at bay after Gatland's squad amassed the highest points haul in their 125-year history to regain to Tom Richards Cup.

The pragmatic Cantabrian has never been accepted by the Australian rugby community since he became the Wallabies first foreign head coach in 2008 and despite ARU chief executive Bill Pulver reiterating Deans' survival did not hinge on retaining the Tom Richards Cup, the organisation has already explored the availability of Jake White and Ewen McKenzie with the Reds and Brumbies respectively.

Deans' 74-test tenure - a record for a Wallabies coach - has been dogged by inconsistency, controversial selections, off-field ill-discipline and a chronic inability to beat the All Blacks.

Now the Wales-centric Lions, a team the Wallabies had beaten in 11 of their last 12 meetings, jeopardises the extension of his contract at the end of this season.

The Lions made a stunning start when Will Genia knocked on the kick-off and after a free kick from the resulting scrum prop Alex Corbisiero rolled over by the uprights - and the English loosehead's influence did not stop there.

Reinstated to the front row after missing the second test through injury, Corbisiero helped the Lions assert and maintain scrum superiority in the opening quarter - personally terrorising Ben Alexander.

The Wallabies tighthead was sinbinned by French referee Romain Poite moments after issuing a warning to captain James Horwill, enabling Leigh Halfpenny to nail his third scrum-related three-pointer during arguably the worst half hour of Deans tenure.

Genia's bad hands triggered a disastrous chain of events for the Wallabies with recalled loose forward legend George Smith's comeback looked over after an accidental head clash with Lions hooker Richard Hibbard in the fourth minute.

Smith returned to another heroes welcome after passing a concussion test but in the 27th minute, the home fans were muted as Israel Folau limped off with a hamstring injury - handing Jesse Mogg a test debut.

Alexander also remained on the bench once his 10-minute penalty elapsed leaving Sekope Kepu to help solidify the Wallabies eight.

Crucially the reconfigured scrum held up 5m out after the halftime siren, establishing the platform for James O'Connor - a controversial selection at pivot - to jink past opposite Jonathon Sexton and underpin cap a bold revival.

The Lions' lead was trimmed to 19-10 at the break and when Leali'ifano goaled two penalties within five minutes of the resumption.

However, the Wallabies scrum woes re-emerged to ease the Lions anxiety as man of the match Halfpenny continued to assemble his 21-point tally.

The Welsh fullback also played a part in the 56th minute try to Jonathon Sexton by providing the final transfer although it was Jonathan Davies - an unpopular selection in Ireland ahead of O'Driscoll - who derived the greatest pleasure by creating the line break.

Halfpenny's positional play was also top notch eight minutes later when he fielded a Genia clearance, scythed between the halfback and Joe Tomane to give George North an unchecked stroll to the line.

"Bread of Heaven" reverberated among the 83,702 crowd on cue and there was another unpalatable moment to digest when Jamie Roberts was put through a hole by replacement halfback Connor Murray with 11 minutes to play.

The red tide rolled on in waves, those in gold streamed to the exits.

British and Irish Lions 41 (Alex Corbisiero, George North, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Sexton tries Leigh Halfpenny 3 cons 5 pens) Australia 16 (James O'Connor try Christian Leali'ifano con 3 pens) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Romain Poite. Crowd: 83,702

Advertisement

Fairfax Media