Warren Gatland said the other day he would swap a defeat in Canberra for victory in the first Test in Brisbane on Saturday. The first half of his equation has duly materialised.
There were particular issues up front, where the Brumbies dominated the breakdown and preyed on Rory Best's increasingly fallibility at the lineout; three not straight, three filched by the opposition. Captain on the night, Best was a shell of a man by the time he was replaced around the hour. His nerve has gone.
The back line, which included a clutch of players new to the tour, found life increasingly uncomfortable, with even Shane Williams's return to Lions colours failing to lift the mood.
Even so, this was not the Brumbies’ front-rank either; with 9 of their key players away in the Wallabies training camp. The Lions had almost 600 Test caps between them, the Brumbies had 28, 26 of them carried by wing Clyde Rathbone.
The driving maul had some purchase but that was the sum of it, a few gallops from Toby Faletau aside and rearguard action from lock Richie Gray. At one point, the Lions made only 15 metres in 10 phases, a sequence that ended with makeshift No 10 Stuart Hogg running round in circles. Hogg is no fly-half at this level - two penalty attempts hitting posts!
The Lions' energy levels certainly seemed lower than usual, with some body clocks still on different time zones and others looking that way.
The Brumbies were hungrier in all phases. They were voracious at the breakdown, sweeping away everything in their path. They were supremely well drilled, as you might expect with Jake White in charge. The Lions were no match for wither their organisation or their drive.
Apart from a bright set-move from an early lineout which almost saw Williams worked over in the left corner there was very little to shout about in attack. Defensively, too, the Brumbies had the edge, with Christian Wade enduring an uncertain Lions debut on the right wing. Only five minutes had elapsed when Andrew Smith cleverly turned the Englishman inside out and Tevita Kuridrani capitalised on the lack of understanding between Wade and the full-back Rob Kearney.
Perhaps the moment which summed their night up best came in the third quarter when Ben Youngs went to whip away a swift long pass and found the huge figure of Ian Evans standing directly in the way. Youngs had to delay and eventually sent the ball off his right hand to Hogg, already surrounded by an impenetrable thicket of Brumbies defenders.
Hailstorms had swept through the region in the afternoon but it was as nothing to the Brumbies’ rage. With the Test match just around the corner, however, the Lions could not risk unloading their replacement bench too early. At least Richard Hibbard, Dan Cole and Owen Farrell made a considerable difference when they arrived, Farrell drilling two penalties through the posts to narrow the margin to two points with eight minutes remaining.