Rugby

Wallabies squeak past Wales

2012-06-23 08:52
Berrick Barnes (File)
Sydney - Australia relied on the boot of Berrick Barnes to edge Wales 20-19 on Saturday and secure a 3-0 whitewash in a series that was anything but one-sided.

Wales No 8 Ryan Jones and Australia centre Rob Horne scored second half tries, but in a match dominated by the whistle of referee Craig Joubert it was the five penalties from flyhalf Barnes that gave the Wallabies a seventh successive win over the Welsh.

Australia had already wrapped up the series with victories in Brisbane and Melbourne and, as in those two Tests, they were pushed to the limit by the Six Nations champions in front of 43 000 fans at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Wales, who had 14 points from the kicking of Leigh Halfpenny, were seeking just their second win over the Wallabies in Australia and a first since 1969 but will return home empty-handed after a tough series at the end of a long season.

On a sunny winter afternoon, the stage was set perfectly for a thrilling contest between two young sides who like to run the ball but Joubert stopped play with a regularity that prevented any tempo building.

The South African referee allowed absolutely no leeway at the breakdown and the ensuing slew of penalties saw the sides locked at 9-9 after 25 minutes, Barnes putting Australia ahead three times before Halfpenny replied for the tourists.

Australia dominated territory and possession as they had in the first two Tests and there was more bad news for Wales when captain Sam Warburton departed after half an hour with a concussion sustained after tackling Pat McCabe.

Barnes put the home side back in front at 12-9 a minute before half-time, which came up with Wales flyhalf Rhys Priestland's failed attempt to level the scores once again with a drop goal.

The second half opened with more attacking rugby from both sides but two promising Welsh attacks near the Australia line were halted when Joubert blew for the 15th and 16th penalties of the contest.

Wales dominated the scrums throughout the match and another infraction at the setpiece on halfway allowed Halfpenny the chance to level the scores after 53 minutes.

His huge attempt hit the post and bounced away and within a minute Wallabies fullback Kurtley Beale had been blocked in an attempt to chip and chase his way to the Wales line.

In the ensuing broken play, Wales hacked the ball deep into the home team's half and Australia winger Digby Ioane was forced to take the ball over his own line, conceding a five metre scrum.

Three attempts to set the scrum resulted in two free-kicks and a penalty against the Wallabies and after the fourth, the Welsh hammered away at the line until No 8 Jones forced his way over under the posts.

Halfpenny added the extras to give Wales a 16-12 lead just after the hour mark but Australia stormed back immediately and Beale's pass put centre Horne over in the corner to put the hosts back in front and set up a tense last 15 minutes.

Halfpenny edged the Welsh back ahead at 19-17 with his fourth penalty after 71 minutes but Barnes was not to be denied and his three points from the 23rd penalty of the match three minutes later proved the last score of the series.

Scorers:


Australia:

Try: Rob Horne; Penalties: Berrick Barnes (5).

Wales:

Try: Ryan Jones; Conversion: Leigh Halfpenny. Penalties: Halfpenny (4).

Australia win the series 3-0

Read more on:    berrick barnes  |  rugby
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