Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Too close for comfort - Warburton

22nd June 2013 15:27



Proud: Sam Warburton

British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton admitted the tense finish to his side's 23-21 victory over Australia was nerve-wracking.

Australian replacement Kurtley Beale missed two late penalties to give the Wallabies the win in Brisbane, with his final effort falling short as time ran out.

Two superb tries for Wallaby debutant Israel Folau and two excellent finishes from George North and Alex Cuthbert for the Lions meant the game in Brisbane was a thrilling affair - something which Warburton confirmed afterwards.

"That was entertaining, that's for sure. It was way too close for comfort. That last 20 minutes was so hard. We really had to dig in. Credit to Australia. We can expect a lot more in these next two Test matches," said Warburton.

"It was like last year with Wales all over again. It's out of your control when there's a kick for the opposition in the last minute. It was just massive delight to win the first game. We've got the momentum and got the ball rolling and now we're just looking forward to next week.

"They came out well. It's always a quick first 20 minutes and you just have to weather the storm. There are still things to work on and I think the sides were very evenly-matched. It went down to the last 10 seconds.

"It was a heck of a Test match and a tiring one but I felt okay out there. We're battle-hardened because of the warm-up games we've had. We've got some match fitness in our now."

North and Cuthbert both confirmed the physical intensity of the match, with Cuthbert crediting the good work of Brian O'Driscoll and Jonathan Davies in the build-up to his second-half try.

"It was a move off the training paddock. We've been running it all week and I guess it paid off. Obviously I owe it to Brian O'Driscoll and Jonathan Davies for running those lines and opening up the space," said Cuthbert.

"They've just got that never-say-die attitude. We knew if we got that field position then we could get on top of them but they kept coming back and surprising us. We've got a lot to work on ahead of the second Test."

"We knew it was going to be high intensity from the start. The first 20 minutes was something else," said North.

"The contact area was savage - there was big impact there flying around. It seemed like everyone was sprinting constantly from minute one."