Wallabies pip Wales

2012-06-16 13:48

Melbourne -Replacement flyhalf Mike Harris calmly slotted home a penalty goal after the siren to carry Australia to a pulsating 25-23 win over Wales in the second test on Saturday to seal their three-match series.

Harris coolly kicked the ball over from just under 30 metres but on a very tight angle at Docklands Stadium after replacing Berrick Barnes, who had missed an easier penalty minutes earlier, to put the Wallabies in front.

Barnes, who had arrived in Melbourne only hours before kickoff after celebrating the birth of his first child in Sydney, was nonetheless named man of the match after compiling 17 points and setting up Australia's sole try to Rob Horne a minute before halftime.

The Wallabies took a 13-7 lead to the break but survived a huge scare in the second spell as the Welsh pushed desperately, only to be left heartbroken.

Wales had bemoaned their slow start last weekend at Lang Park, and appeared desperate to make amends as they charged out of the blocks.

Winger George North snatched the ball out of a ruck on the try-line and threw his hulking frame over by the right post to cap a period of sustained pressure by the Welsh forwards.

The visitors then kept the Wallabies scoreless for all but a minute of the first quarter before conceding a penalty in front of the posts that Barnes booted over from 30 metres.

Barnes, who has been forced to stand in in the pivot role in the absence of a clutch of injured Wallabies, repeated the effort from a much sharper angle 10 minutes before halftime to cut the deficit to a point.

A shanked kick over the side-line gifted Australia possession shortly afterwards and the hosts punished the mistake.

Wales had spoken of targeting scrumhalf Will Genia and Barnes after the pair combined strongly at Lang Park, but the same duo linked up to put Horne over for the Wallabies in the 39th minute.

Genia speared a 30-metre pass outside to Barnes, who sliced through the Welsh line before dishing off to outside centre Horne who cantered 30 metres to the line.

Australia repaid Wales the favour by handing them their second try three minutes after the break, however, when a quick flick by Genia found only open space.

The loose ball was booted forward and outside centre Jonathan Davies won a thrilling sprint to the line, deftly toe-poking the ball over before pouncing on it to bring Wales to within a point.

Barnes and Leigh Halfpenny traded penalty goals before winger Cooper Vuna left the Wallabies a man down for 10 of the last 20 minutes after he interfered with Halfpenny catching the ball.

Halfpenny then nosed the Welsh in front 23-22 with his third straight penalty goal before Barnes, who had been razor-sharp all night, wobbled when handed a shot from in front of the posts from 40 metres, shanking the kick wide.

The galling miss sparked a chain of panicky fumbles from the Wallabies, with replacement lock Michael Hooper spilling a pass to cut short a promising drive in the final minutes.

Australia never gave in, though, and mounted one last drive which resulted in a penalty and Harris ensured Welsh disappointment once again.

Australia won the first match in Brisbane 27-19 and the teams play the third and final test in Sydney next weekend.


Australia: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Cooper Vuna, Rob Horne, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes, Will Genia, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock (captain), Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson.

Substitutes: Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Nic White, Anthony Fainga'a, Mike Harris.

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Ashley Beck, George North, Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips, Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones; Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (captain), Ryan Jones.

Substitutes: Richard Hibbard, Paul James, Luke Charteris, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb, James Hook, Scott Williams.


  • Stormkaap - 2012-06-16 13:52

    Two close games today... hope the Bokke dont do the same!

      Jack - 2012-06-16 16:17

      I'd like to say that the Aussies didn't deserve to win, but then Wales never really tried to drive home their advantage. Trying to defend a one point lead with 5 minutes on the clock in an international match is kinda dumb.

      philip.harris.967 - 2012-06-17 10:10

      Poor old Wales , they take their strongest side in decades to Oz and still cannot put it over an injury depleted Wallaby side. No wonder they are crying in their beer.

  • ockie.barnard.9 - 2012-06-16 13:54

    Wow, what a rugby weekend thus far. Great game also. The score could have gone either way, like the AB/Irish game. Bokke please do not do, like Oz and NZ did, do this to us ... go Bokke!

      JM - 2012-06-16 14:03

      I dont think they will, Meyer by the sounds of it is really grinding in the mentality of " you're not there to win, you're there to utterly massacre "

  • gawie.krotz - 2012-06-16 14:00

    Wonderfull game..Bought teams played very well but I don't think the wobblies deserve that win..they should play more and cheat less..almost all of their point came form penalties caused by their own players pulling or holding the opposite players in the rucks and malls..that's how they beat us(Boks) in the world cup....damn cheats!!!!!

      Cape - 2012-06-16 14:20

      They won the game and the bokkies in the QF!

      Niel - 2012-06-16 14:29

      Ok so everytime oz and nz win they cheated? And the boks are such honest good men that never do anything wrong. Whatever! Push the rules, that's why there's a ref.

      gary.martin.33821189 - 2012-06-17 08:43

      Totally agree with Niel's comment. I tire of people blaming referees, cheats, the competition draw (and for SA) bonus points in Super Rugby as the reasons for a loss. And they tend to be people who never see anything untoward in outcomes that come their way - especially those decided by debatable penalties on the bell.

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2012-06-16 14:10

    2-0 to the Southern Hemisphere Giants and another series win at that.Now for the Boks to wrap up our dominance over the Northern Hemisphere.A tit for that game this was which could've gone either way surely.They've exchange the lead nine times in this match.Wales looked on in sheer disbelief there in the end.My goodness what testament to rugby union.Ecstatic Aussies couldn't belief their luck.

  • Rich - 2012-06-16 14:16

    Wales only have themselves to blame, you don't kick possession away with two and a half minutes on the clock.

  • Cape - 2012-06-16 14:19

    Well done Aussies! A close game indeed. I think the bokkies will smash the "weak" England team later today by 35. I further understand from the IRB that the bokkies will move to Nr 1 on the IRB ranking after their win over the Pommies. Hahahahhahaha - kyk hoe lekker lag ek nou!

      JM - 2012-06-16 14:56

      .... No way is that true... where did you get information from?

      sean.brady.14224 - 2012-06-16 19:38

      A Chappies wrapper! That is Cape's encyclpaedia Brittanica ...

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