Australia 16-15 British & Irish Lions, Melbourne, June 29
What the papers said...
Lions winger George North takes Wallabies rival Israel Folau for a ride around the Etihad Stadium
© Getty Images
How was Australia's second Test victory over the British & Irish Lions reported around the world?
Halfpenny agony as Lions fall short
"One measly kick. One desperate lunge for glory. One last chance for redemption. Poor Leigh Halfpenny. At least Kurtley Beale could curse the turf or his moulded studs...It was a long, long effort - more than 50 metres and on the angle. The only man who will blame Halfpenny is Halfpenny himself. He hung his head in despair as the kick fell short. Will Genia gathered and booted it joyfully into the stands. Halfpenny could barely look anyone in the eye as they tried to console him and the opposition preferred hands. He was a man apart in his misery. Rugby the ultimate team game? Not for everyone. The loneliness of the long-distance kicker." - Mick Cleary, The Daily Telegraph
Wallabies level the series
"If you took this storyline to a Hollywood producer you'd be thrown out on your ear for stretching credibility way beyond breaking point. As entertainment this was appalling, as edge-of-the-seat, nerve-shredding drama it was utterly compelling...Needs must, as the old saying has it and, needing a win to take the series to Sydney, the Wallabies went to their well of sporting resilience and mustered the victory that they so badly needed. The crowd roared their approval at the death and skipper James Horwill, with that disciplinary cloud hanging over him, raised twin fists at the Lions, the critics and anyone else who wanted a piece of him." - Iain Morrison, The Scotsman
Australia reverse tour's sway
"There came a period, when Mako Vunipola was penalised twice in succession at the scrum and then knocked on, and then slung out an imprudent pass, when the loosehead prop was fast becoming a one-man disintegration, the team's inability to impose themselves condensed into the misfortunes of a young front-row forward.
"...But if the Lions are going to shake up their approach, they may have to contemplate the unthinkable. Jamie Roberts for Jonathan Davies would be the obvious swap, a rediscovery of the partnership that rocked South Africa in 2009. But is Brian O'Driscoll the player now that he was then? He has not had the best of series." - Eddie Butler, The Observer
Powerhouse North carries the ball and Folau
"Whatever the result of next Saturday's deciding Test in Sydney, North will return to the British Isles this summer with his name etched into Lions folklore...When North gathered an up-and-under near the Lions' 22-metre line and he saw Israel Folau charging towards him he looked to be up the creek without a paddle...Rather than getting himself in the best position to present the ball for the seemingly inevitable maul to follow, North used Folau's iron-tight grip to his own advantage, scooping the 6ft 5in, 15st 6lb wing up in the air and over his shoulder with gobsmacking ease. With a global audience watching in awe North then pumped his legs, taking Folau with him as he gained significant ground - even using the Wallaby as a shield for would-be tacklers." - Dave Wood, The Daily Mail
Late heartbreak as Lions taken to a decider
"If the Wallabies would have been judged lucky had Beale done the business in Brisbane, the Lions would have been considered highly fortunate to clinch a first series win in 16 years off the back of a successful Halfpenny howitzer.
"This was an evening of panicked sport, when the tension gripped and permeated almost every move of a wild, barmy and flawed match -- when the grandiosity of the occasion was never matched by the standards of the play."
"...Had the Wallabies' premier-league creative spirits - Beale at full-back, James O'Connor at outside-half - been in their best form, they would surely have put distance between the two sides after the break as the Lions ran out of possession and ceded territory by the mile. Instead, they fumbled the ball under pressure and attempted too many "miracle passes". Time and again, Australian momentum was slowed by unforced errors." - Chris Hewett, The Independent
Lions tamers take series to the wire
"A bold captain's call and a nerveless conversion by a second-game "debutant" saw the Wallabies snatch a thrilling victory over the Lions in Melbourne. Rookie Wallaby Christian Lealiifano went from out-cold in Brisbane to ice-cold last night when he slotted a 76th minute goal from near the sideline, which lifted the Wallabies to a 16-15 win and kept the Test series alive heading to Sydney." - Iain Payten, The Daily Telegraph
No.10 keeps cool when it matters
"It was the selection which was always going to define this series, the one that asked to be judged. It was the system as well as the player that was on trial. James O'Connor wore No.10 but he was one of three asked to run the game, alongside Kurtley Beale and Christian Lealiifano. O'Connor was imperfect, and then instrumental. Much of what he did was in keeping with his range of talents. He defended with courage and attacked the line. When cleaning up under the high ball was required, he stepped up. Those are fine attributes. But he moved within the ebb and flow of a disjointed game when the best conductors can grab it by the neck, mould it to their own will." - Paul Cully, Sydney Morning Herald
Lions' luck runs out at last
"This was an evening of panicked sport, when the tension gripped and permeated almost every move of a wild, barmy and flawed match -- when the grandiosity of the occasion was never matched by the standards of the play.
"..The problems for the Lions began at loosehead, where Mako Vunipola struggled horrendously, often either collapsing or being forced out so that he scrummaged almost at a right angle. You wondered, as the evening wore on and as the penalties amassed against Vunipola, how many people turned their thoughts to the absent Andrew Sheridan, the leading scrummager in the European game who we are asked by the Lions to believe is not now among their first seven choices at loosehead." - Stephen Jones, The Sunday Times
Aussies' late push tames Lions
"It was an ordinary Test match but of extraordinary tension, saved by a black-ball finish. And if when you watched the Wallabies celebrate Leigh Halfpenny's short penalty kick as if it was the end of the series, then maybe it's because they think that's just what it is. The Lions are heading to Noosa and some Queensland sunshine for a few days to regroup, but it will be a remarkable regeneration if they can recharge the batteries sufficiently to win in Sydney on Saturday." - Brendan Fanning, Irish Independent
Wallabies snatch second Test
"When the aggregate points difference in Brisbane and Melbourne comes down to a single point, you have to conclude that this series is still either side's to win. But the Lions will have to offer more in Sydney to deny Australia, a side whose abiding strength is the ability to stay dangerous right up until the final second. Defences ruled this encounter, to an almost stifling degree at times, but Gatland's men just didn't create enough in attack, getting themselves bogged down in attrition when they attempted to put some air on the ball." - Delme Parfitt, Western Mail
Wallabies prevail in yet another thriller
"This was the back line Wallabies coach Robbie Deans had been conjuring in his mind for two years. It looked for most of the match like it was not up to the job, with repeated handling errors squandering countless opportunities in attack. But at the end of the line five-eighth James O'Connor and Ashley-Cooper made it work, affirming Deans's decision to play three playmakers and invest in spreading the ball wide." - Georgina Robinson, Sydney Morning Herald
Australia's Adam Ashley-Cooper forces his way to the line for the crucial score © Getty Images
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