Watching the British and Irish Lions crush the Australian Wallabies by 41 points to 16 in the decisive third and final Test it was impossible not to conclude that Warren Gatland got his team-selection absolutely right.
This was arguably the Lions’ greatest ever achievement and not just because of the victory margin after virtual stalemate in the first two Tests. What made this special for the giants of the northern hemisphere was the beauty of this spectacular performance because this was the way rugby should be played.
Four glorious tries saw the Lions roar to their first series win for 16 years with a record points tally. And it was rugby heaven in a stunning second half display that saw Jonathan Sexton, George North and Jamie Roberts run in three of those tries in a match-clinching 10-minute power play.
Man of the series Leigh Halfpenny was simply awesome for the Lions with a string of brilliant runs to add to his immaculate kicking. The Sky Sports commentator summed up his influence when he asked: “How many Halfpennies are on the pitch?”
It was Alex Corbisiero’s second minute try that got the Lions up and running with the perfect start as the tourists stormed to a 19-3 lead. The Australian fightback began just before half-time with a try by James O’Connor that made it 19-10 at the break. But pre-match criticsm of Gatland for taking the bold decision to leave out the legendary Brian O’Driscoll looked foolish as the Lions produced exhibition rugby to see off the Walllabies in swashbuckling style.