THE British and Irish Lions ended 16 years of series failures with a virtuoso performance in Sydney last night.
The Lions rebuffed a brief Wallabies fightback to win the game-three decider before a packed ANZ Stadium.
The tourists - whose last series win was in South Africa in 1997 - finally delivered the "fantastic" performance they had craved this tour, ambushing the Wallabies at the start and then steamrolling them in the second half with a try blitz.
It was easily the most decisive win of the series, after the Lions won game one 23-21 in Brisbane and Australia replied with a 16-15 victory in Sydney last weekend.
Australia secured the 2001 series against the Lions in the decider at ANZ Stadium, but the ground went from a field of dreams to a grave-yard last night.
The occasion may have marked Kiwi coach Robbie Deans' last match in charge of the Wallabies, with speculation rife he will be replaced after six years in the job before the Wallabies' upcoming spring tour of the northern hemisphere.
The Lions gained the ascendancy from the outset when prop Alex Corbisiero crashed over next to the posts in the second minute.
With goal-kicking juggernaut Leigh Halfpenny in typically sublime form (six from seven), the Lions opened a 19-3 lead in the first half. But Australia went into the break with the momentum after five-eighth James O'Connor backed himself close to the tryline in the 42nd minute, producing a jinking run to score.
Centre Christian Lealiifano converted and suddenly Australia was back in the contest at 19-10, but the try provided the Wallabies with false hope as the Lions crossed for three second-half tries.
BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS 41
(Alex Corbisiero, Jonny Sexton, George North, Jamie Roberts tries; Leigh Halfpenny three cons, five pens)
(James O'Connor try; Christian Lealiifano con, three pens) at ANZ Stadium, Sydney. Crowd: 83,418
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