The British and Irish Lions have won their three-match series against Australia following a comprehensive 41-16 victory at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

It is the first Lions series success since their iconic triumph in South Africa under Sir Ian McGeechan in 1997.

Warren Gatland's controversial decision to omit Brian O'Driscoll was vindicated as the Lions overawed an uncharacteristically rudderless Australia team.

jonathan sexton

Jonny Sexton his pivotal second try


Prop Alex Corbisiero crossed after just 79 seconds as the tourists made a dream start with full-back Leigh Halfpenny kicking 14 points in the first 40.

Trailing 3-19, Australia struck back with a try from James O'Connor on the stroke of half-time to set up a tight second half.

The Wallabies reduced the arrears to just three points but the immaculate Jonny Sexton raced through shy of the hour mark and Halfpenny's conversion opened up a 13-point lead.

sam warburton alun wyn jones

Warburton and Wyn Jones lift the Tom Richards Trophy


Seven minutes later and the result was a fait accompli. Halfpenny, the outstanding player of this series, skipped past two Australians and claimed a second assist when George North charged over for a third Lions try.

The in-game party continued when Jamie Roberts, who feared a hamstring injury would deprive him of facing the Australians, stormed through and the scoreline began to resemble a thrashing.

Lions captain Sam Warburton and interim skipper Alun Wyn Jones jointly hoisted the Tom Richards Trophy.

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  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: George North of the Lions takes a high ball over Joe Tomane of the Wallabies during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: James O'Connor of the Wallabies tackles George North of the Lions during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Australian fans during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jesse Mogg of the Wallabies is tackled by Geoff Parling of the British & Irish Lions during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Dan Lydiate of the Lions takes a lineout ball during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies is tackled by Johnny Sexton (R) of the Lions during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • RUGBYU-AUS-LIONS

    British and Irish Lions prop Alex Corbisiero (C) crashes over to score a try against the Australian Wallabies during the third rugby union Test match in Sydney on July 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO/William WEST IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUGBYU-AUS-LIONS

    Toby Faletau (C) from the British and Irish Lions breaks clear against Australia during the third and final rugby union Test in Sydney on July 6, 2013. IMAGE STRICTLY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Leigh Halfpenny of the Lions kicks a long range penalty during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: A scrum forms during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jonathan Sexton of the Lions celebrates scoring a try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jonathan Sexton of the Lions celebrates scoring a try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jonathan Sexton of the Lions celebrates scoring a try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: James O'Connor of the Wallabies reacts during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: James O'Connor of the Wallabies reacts during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • RUGBYU-AUS-LIONS

    George North (C) from the Lions is jubilant after scoring a try against Australia during the third and final rugby union Test in Sydney on July 6, 2013. IMAGE STRICTLY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jamie Roberts of the Lions makes a break to score a try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jamie Roberts of the Lions scores a try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jamie Roberts of the Lions scores a try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jamie Roberts of the Lions celebrates after scoring a try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jamie Roberts of the Lions and team mates celebrate after scoring a try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jamie Roberts of the Lions and team mates celebrate after scoring a try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jamie Roberts of the Lions and team mates celebrate after scoring a try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jamie Roberts of the Lions and team mates celebrate after scoring a try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jonathan Sexton (C) of the Lions celebrates with team mates Conor Murray (L) and Jamie Roberts after to scoring their second try during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: George North of the Lions celebrates winning the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: James Horwill of the Wallabies speaks to his team mates after losing the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: James Horwill of the Wallabies speaks to his team mates after losing the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: James Horwill of the Wallabies speaks to his team mates after losing the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: James Horwill of the Wallabies speaks to his team mates after losing the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Robbie Deans, coach of the Wallabies and Joe Tomane of the Wallabies chat after losing the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • RUGBYU-AUS-LIONS

    British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones (R) and Sam Warburton lift the winner's trophy after defeating Australia in the deciding rugby union test at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on July 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ Saeed Khan IMAGE STRICTLY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUGBYU-AUS-LIONS

    British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones (R) and Sam Warburton lift the winner's trophy after defeating Australia in the deciding rugby union test at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on July 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ Saeed Khan IMAGE STRICTLY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUGBYU-AUS-LIONS

    British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones (R) and Sam Warburton lift the winner's trophy after defeating Australia in the deciding rugby union test at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on July 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ Saeed Khan IMAGE STRICTLY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUGBYU-AUS-LIONS

    British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones (R) and Sam Warburton lift the winner's trophy after defeating Australia in the deciding rugby union test at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on July 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ Saeed Khan IMAGE STRICTLY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Lions players celebrate winning the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jamie Roberts of the Lions celebrates with the Tom Richards Cup after winning the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Sam Warburton celebrates winning the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • RUGBYU-AUS-LIONS

    British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones (R) and Sam Warburton lift the winner's trophy after defeating Australia in the deciding rugby union test at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on July 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ Saeed Khan IMAGE STRICTLY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUGBYU-AUS-LIONS

    British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones celebrates victory after defeating Australia in the deciding rugby union test at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on July 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ Saeed Khan IMAGE STRICTLY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Brian O'Driscoll of the Lions celebrates winning during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Brian O'Driscoll of the Lions celebrates winning during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Sam Warburton and the British & Irish Lions celebrate with the Tom Richards Cup after winning the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Lions players celebrate winning the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jamie Roberts of the Lions celebrates with the Tom Richards Cup after winning the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Lions players celebrate winning the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Lions players celebrate winning the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Australia v British & Irish Lions: Game 3

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jonny Sexton of the Lions celebrates with fans following victory in the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on July 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)