British and Irish side given their first real test of their Australian tour.
The British and Irish Lions have earned their third win in as many games this tour, but they were made to work for every point against a determined and understrength Queensland Reds side at Suncorp Stadium.
From the outset the home side showed their intent to attack the Lions around the ground, but the visitors’ strength in the set pieces and the accurate boot of Owen Farrell proved the difference in the end, 22-12.
With Wallabies coach Robbie Deans watching on from the stands, many experts had their eyes focused on Quade Cooper, to see if he would do enough against the Lions to earn a late call-up by the Australian leader.
At times Cooper showed he is still capable of making errors, but his willingness to attack and lift the pace of the game troubled the visitors.
The Lions took the lead inside five minutes through the boot of Farrell, who bagged his first penalty for the game to make it 3-0.
Queensland scored the first try for the game after a sensational run by Luke Morahan, as a chip and chase saw him finish under the posts in what was one of the tries of the year.
Again the away side opted for goal when they were given a penalty 35 metres out and again Farrell split the uprights to narrow the home side’s lead to one.
The Lions were off-side at the breakdown soon after and the Reds and Cooper took a shot at goal from 40 metres out, but he missed to the left in what was a bad miss.
The visitors were being stretched across the field by Queensland who did well to retain possession when the ball when did go to ground.
Farrell looked to have scored off the back of a break down the left wing by the Lions, only to be denied by a desperate lunge by Morahan, which knocked the ball out of the outstretched hand from the would-be scorer.
The visitors should have earned a five metre scrum from Morahan’s intervention but the Lions’ scrumhalf Ben Youngs produced some good work at the base of the scrum to earn a cheap try for his side.
Farrell added the extras and the Lions took the lead for the first time in the game 13-7 with five minutes left to half-time.
Lions skipper Sam Warburton could have made the lead even bigger but was dragged down just short of the line after the Lions again made a break.
The decision went to the TMO who decided the ball was held-up, but the Lions were finishing off the first half well.
The Lions exerted their dominance at the scrum just before the half time as the Reds came under pressure, as the away side hammered away in the hope of adding to their lead.
But off the back of a penalty for not letting go in the tackle, Farrell added another three points via his right boot to give his side a 16-7 lead at the break.
Queensland fell behind further after the resumption when Eddie Quirk did not roll away from the ruck, as Farrell’s deadly boot again made the home side pay for their indiscipline as the Lions grew the lead to 12.
Flanker Beau Robinson was taken off after a heavy hit left him out cold on the ground, with the likely concussion possibly having further implications for NSW/Queensland Country, ahead of their clash with the Lions.
The game turned into a scrappy contest with the wet ball starting to have an affect, with the Reds also still chancing their arm, as they know they cannot win the set pieces by playing safe rugby.
Queensland got back into the game when Nick Frisby scored off the back of a Rod Davies break,
to make it 19-12.
As if sensing the swing in momentum in the game the Lions brought on several of their first-choice stars for the first game against the Wallabies such as Ireland’s Paul O’Connell, who made an immediate impact at the breakdown.
The Reds continued to look to attack from deep inside their own 22 metre area, but one run too many saw them become isolated, and a penalty for hanging on in the breakdown.
Farrell did the rest as he put the game in the keeping of the Lions as he made the score 22-12 with only three minute left.