What the papers said...
June 24, 2013
Lions winger George North dominated many headlines after his sensational score at the Suncorp Stadium © Getty Images
How was the British & Irish Lions' first Test victory over Australia reported around the world?
"The Lions are as well placed as they have been since the heyday of the 1970s. Even in 1997 there was a sense of Springbok fury about to be unleashed at them, and it was. Much as the Lions need to guard against complacency given the disorder in opposition ranks, there is also a feeling that they can move in for the kill." - Mick Cleary, The Daily Telegraph
"Sometimes the gods of rugby are simply too cruel. At the very last knockings of a compelling opening Test match, the Wallaby back Kurtley Beale, fresh out of rehab and not obviously in the optimum state to play a game of this magnitude, was asked to kick a 46-metre penalty that would win the game for his country. He slipped on contact, misconnected and had to be helped from the field by his colleagues, his emotions plummeting in a downward spiral of pure misery." - Chris Hewett, Independent on Sunday
"No one knew beforehand which way yesterday's remarkable Test was going to go. Indeed, no one really knew five seconds before the end. The only truly confident prediction was that the refereeing would be a shambles. That prediction was duly borne out in spades...The breakdown was only part of it. The Lions had been warned by various sources that Chris Pollock had different interpretations at the breakdown and it was clear both sides were bewildered by him -- it was also clear that the Lions had far more cause to be angry. The official was inconsistent and failed to grasp what is meant to be the holy grail of refereeing by sending to the sin-bin players who kill the play when a try is in the offing." - Stephen Jones, The Sunday Times
"It would appear that the next two weeks are not going to be easy on the nerves of the rugby-loving population. And even more demanding on the bodies of the players involved in this Test series...It was a malfunctioning foot that ended it, but it will be heads that decide this series, heads that can sift through the issues of selection and stay calm in the stressful days ahead. May your own nerves survive the journey." - Eddie Butler, The Observer
"A lot of people will remember the first Test not just because of the late heartbreak, but because it was the night two global superstars were born. Folau and George North inhabit a world distinct from the rest of us, in which they can transfer deeds that normally only occur in the imagination to the sporting arena. It is this global aspect that will keep Folau in the game, if he so chooses. He has already spoken of the enjoyment he gleaned from a trip to South Africa, and there is more of that coming for a young man whose presence would spin turnstiles in Paris or Dublin." - Paul Cully, Sydney Morning Herald
"It is unlikely that Warren Gatland celebrated the British and Irish Lions' first Test win over the Australia by playing Monopoly, given that he had already played his 'Get out of jail free' card during the final seconds of the game...Gatland will gladly accept any element of fortune, given his lack of it in several near-losses as the coach of Wales against the same opponents, but he and his coaches and players have a fair amount upon which to ponder and improve." - Brian Moore, The Daily Telegraph
Australia's Will Genia and Israel Folau deny the Lions' George North a try © PA Photos
"A tour 12 years in the making sunk in 60 seconds. I hope this is not the doomsday tombstone for the Wallabies, because you could see the mental demons fleeing from the head of British and Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton and his Welsh cohorts on fulltime...Kurtley Beale slipped in his stupid moulded-sole boots and missed far more than a Lion-slaying penalty goal on the bell at Suncorp Stadium. Beat a team that has no right to lose in a tight finish and the mental straitjacket can be suffocating." - Jim Tucker, The Courier-Mail
"And what about those tries. Folau might have been devastating, but for sheer individual brilliance North's first-half score simply took the breath away, his slaloming 65-metre run to the corner enough to hoist literally everyone who witnessed it up and out of their seats. For some time North's freakish athleticism has seen him lauded by the global rugby fraternity, though he hasn't always lived up to expectations in a Wales jersey. Sometimes though, a Lions tour brings the best out of players. Rather than be cowed by the magnitude of it all, they thrive under a more intense spotlight. Add North to that bracket after this. It's mind-boggling to think of the lofty perch he may occupy in the game if he replicates this sort of stuff in the remaining two Tests." - Delme Parfitt, Western Mail
"The biggest rugby game in the short history of this fine stadium and appropriately it drew its biggest ever crowd. After a beautifully warm day in Brisbane, almost 53,000 turned up on a night where the temperature outside Suncorp had cooled, in direct contrast to the searing heat inside the four walls. Lions Tests are not always special affairs, despite what the storybook would have you believe. Sometimes they are plain hard to watch, as for example in New Zealand in 2005. This was a classic though, explosive from the start and then, in keeping with the script which changed from chapter to chapter, it came down to the last kick of the game."- Brendan Fanning, The Irish Independent
"This one could have gone either way, fine margins have rarely been finer, but when the dust had settled the Lions just about deserved their win, if only for holding their collective nerve. It might have been easier had Mike Phillips not endured one of his least effective matches in a Lions shirt. The scrum-half was scragged numerous times at the base of the breakdown, and he was made to look plum ordinary by Will Genia as his rival went on a mazy walkabout from a quick tap penalty to spark Israel Folau's first try" - The Scotsman
The media was generous in its praise for Australia winger Israel Folau who grabbed two tries on debut © Getty Images
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