British and Irish Lions end 16 years of futility

14:35, 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.

The British and Irish Lions made a blistering start, overcame a spirited Australian fightback and finished with four tries in a record 41-16 win in the third test on Saturday which ended a 16-year wait for a series triumph.

After just three points separated the two sides in the first two matches, the Lions built their emphatic victory on the back of a dominant scrum to join the hallowed teams of 1971, 1974, 1989 and 1997 as series winners in the modern era.

Prop Alex Corbisiero, flyhalf Jonny Sexton, winger George North and centre Jamie Roberts scored the tries and fullback Leigh Halfpenny, named player of the series, added 21 points with his boot to give the Lions their highest tally in a test match.

"These guys have done themselves proud, have done that jersey proud and they deserve a huge amount of credit for that performance and what they've achieved," coach Warren Gatland told a news conference.

"I thought the scrum was brilliant...and four tries tonight was a vindication of how well we have played on this tour."

Gatland said the virulent reaction to his decision to drop Irish centre Brian O'Driscoll for the deciding match had removed some of his enjoyment of the victory but he was unable to disguise his delight with his players.

After tight tests in Brisbane and Melbourne, the decider looked like being a demolition job after 25 minutes with the home side reduced to 14 men, their scrum in disarray and the Lions 19-3 up.

The first five minutes were disastrous for the Wallabies with scrumhalf Will Genia spilling the kickoff, their pack twice penalised at the scrum and flanker George Smith leaving the pitch after a head clash with Lions hooker Richard Hibbbard.

The fumbled kickoff and a quickly taken free kick had the Lions charging at the home try line and Corbisiero carried the ball low and hard to reach over and touch down inside the first 90 seconds.

Halfpenny converted and added another huge penalty from halfway to give the tourists a 10-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes, drawing huge cheers from the red-clad Lions fans in the crowd of 83,702.

Smith, returning after four years out of international rugby to win his 111th cap, re-entered the fray and the Wallabies hit back with a penalty from Christian Leali'ifano two minutes later.

The problems with the pack remained for the home side and referee Romain Poite called a free kick and two penalties against them at the next three scrums, allowing Halfpenny to extend the lead to 13 with two more spot kicks.

Poite ran out of patience at the next scrum and prop Ben Alexander was sent to the sinbin for 10 minutes for collapsing the set-piece, Halfpenny added three more points from the resulting penalty.

"HORRIFIC START"

"I mean, obviously, it was a horrific start," said Australia coach Robbie Deans. "They used their set piece to great advantage and once they had the momentum, they took their opportunities and they went back to set piece to punish us."

The Wallabies looked down and out two minutes later when winger Israel Folau, who scored tow tries on his debut in the first test, pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury to bring Jesse Mogg on for his first test.

Instead, though, the home side managed to endure the remaining period with just 14 men - Sexton's missed dropped goal the only real threat - and started to put together some backline rhythm.

Mogg's first burst up the middle was stopped by a brilliant tap tackle in open field from lock Geoff Parling but the Wallabies kept coming.

From a scrum just before halftime they finally made the breakthrough with O'Connor jinking past Sexton and taking scrumhalf Mike Phillips over the line with him to score.

Leali'ifano converted to leave the Lions with just a 19-10 lead at the break and the centre reduced it by six more points with two penalties in the first five minutes after the break.

A huge shove through tighthead Adam Jones gave the Lions regained dominance at the scrum and the Wallabies crumbled before it, allowing Halfpenny to extend the lead to 21-16 after 51 minutes.

Five minutes later and the Lions attacked up the left flank with Jonathan Davies releasing Halfpenny who got the ball back inside for Sexton to run round and score under the posts.

The slight fullback added the extras for a 29-16 lead and eight minutes later set up the coup de grace, slipping past Genia on the counter-attack to set North on his way for his second try of the series.

Halfpenny failed with the conversion - his only miss in nine kicks on the night - but it was made academic after 68 minutes when Roberts ran onto Conor Murray's pass at a great angle to cut through the defence for the fourth try.

"You can't sugarcoat it or anything like that we weren't good enough today and they were," said Australia captain James Horwill. "The better team won."

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Reuters