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banner Monday, 2 July, 2001, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
What a win
Matt Dawson
BBC Sport Online's columnist Matt Dawson looks back on a great day for the Lions Down Under.

What a win that was for us Lions on Saturday.

You cannot underestimate the importance of taking first blood in a series like this.

Sure a side can come from behind, as the Lions did in 1989 - but it gives you such a lift to get your nose in front.

The atmosphere in the dressing-room afterwards was brilliant. It brought 1997 rushing right back for me.


It felt as if at least half the fans at the Gabba were Lions supporters
  Matt Dawson
Everyone took a moment to calm themselves down so they could talk about the game next week - but inside the pleasure was clearly there.

Players reacted in different ways. Some were so exhausted they were just lying on the floor, so shattered they could barely utter a word.

The game was always going to have a fiery start but we just came out and went at Australia from the word go.

I was on the touchline right next to Jason Robinson when he ran round Chris Latham and it was quite unbelievable.

The guy only had three yards to work in but just ran round Latham as if the Aussie was made of stone.

The crowd were brilliant. It felt as if at least half the fans at the Gabba were Lions supporters.

The boys took a lift from that to the extent that there were 15 guys out there who were able to express themselves and play.

They clicked so well. We've only been together for five weeks so to be playing like that was outstanding.


The front five were magnificent

  Matt Dawson
We were taking control of the game when the sin-bin incident put a stop to it.

The boys were working so hard, defending right on the line for 10 minutes, that it took a lot out of them and the two Aussie tries became almost inevitable.

It's hard singling out players for particular praise.

Brian O'Driscoll and Keith Wood are great players - and you see them out in the open doing their thing.

What you don't see is the boys up front. They've taken a hell of a lot of stick on this tour about their scrummaging and the lineout.

The front five were magnificent - and that gave the rest of the team the impetus to play the way they did.

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