Just when the British & Irish Lions thought they could relax at the sight of Israel Folau going off the field in the third Test, on came Jesse Mogg to spark their much-hyped backline into life.
Folau was irresistible in the first Test – scoring two tries – and while he wasn’t given the chance to threaten in the cagey second, the Lions would have been relieved to see him limp off in the Third.
But that only served to bring Mogg, who impressed in the Brumbies’ midweek victory over the Lions, into the fray for his first Australia cap on 27 minutes.
The Qantas Wallabies were trailing 19-3 at that point following the Lions’ early dominance upfront in the scrum, as well as Alex Corbisiero’s first-minute try.
But Mogg, with his electric running and booming left boot, made an almost immediate impact, taking to the international stage like a man possessed.
And on 33 minutes, he almost single-handedly dragged Australia back into the game.
Kurtley Beale took the ball up the middle in his own half but a smart offload found the flying Mogg, who burst through the Lions’ defensive line and hared off in the direction of the right-hand corner.
He was closing in on Jonny Sexton and had he beaten the Lions fly-half he was probably home and dry, but outstretched Geoff Parling’s telescopic right-arm to stop Mogg in his tracks with a glorious tap-tackle.
Parling’s workrate throughout was remarkable. By his own admission it was probably going to be the last time he wore the Lions jersey, but the speed in which he covered the ground to stop Mogg was breath-taking and had former players from Brian Moore to Jonathan Davies purring on Twitter.
Parling however, was more modest.
“Finally my ultra long arms came in useful! I was glad for that but I was a bit lucky to get there,” he said after the match.
“But it wasn’t just that, there were massive moments in the game and what a result!
I can’t really put into words how I’m feeling and how the whole squad is feeling, it’s things that you dream off.
“We’ve got to celebtrate that, the way the lads have come together, there are some fantastic personalities and the coaches have done a great job of bringing everyone together, I’m just over the moon.
“For lots of us it might be the last time we pull on the shirt and we wanted to make the most of it and I think we did that.”
Australia did get their try at the very end of the first half to trim the gap to 19-10 at the break but had Mogg got free, the momentum of such a fine try would have been with the Wallabies and they may well have led at the interval. But Parling was never going to let that happen.