GEORGE NORTH scored one of the great Lions tries during the pulsating win over Australia on Saturday. The Welsh winger marked his Lions Test debut with an outstanding 60m charge to the line after collecting a high kick, leaving a trail of Wallabies in his wake.
Not only did the try almost take the roof off the Suncorp Stadium. It also breathed life into the Lions, who were trailing 7-3 at the time and appeared to have let the occasion, and the referee, unsettle them in the opening stages.
After being harshly penalised at the breakdown on more than one occasion, the tourists fell behind to a brilliant try from Israel Folau who was set up by the quick-thinking Will Genia after a tap penalty. Leigh Halfpenny scored a penalty in reply but the Lions looked listless and in need of a spark.
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Things were looking bleak when, after 25 minutes, Australian full-back Berrick Barnes launched an up and under into Lions territory. North collected the ball just behind his own ten-metre line with the entire Australian team in front of him. But he made the catch on the run and with impetus behind him began his charge. First he skipped inside on-rushing Wallaby centre Pat McCabe; fly-half James O'Connor threw himself at North and just got a hand to him, but the Welshman stayed on his feet and accelerated into the Australian half.
Now travelling at full speed, he scorched past Barnes, leaving him for dead with a deft sidestep. Australia's last hope was now Genia, but North was too fast for the covering scrum-half and the Lion even had time to turn and point at the Wallabies' number nine as he crossed the line.
"North's try was so good it first got you out of your seat willing him to go all the way, then needing to sit back down and have someone pour you a cup of tea," wrote David Walsh in the Sunday Times.
In a game that featured four exceptional tries, two for Folau and a second Lions try for Alex Cuthbert, it was North's that stood out. "It is unfair to single one man out from the middle of this marvellous 80-minute melee, one for all and all for one as the Lions are. But then even the Musketeers had D'Artagnan," said Andy Bull in The Observer.
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