Wallabies whitewash Wales
Jun 23 2012
Wales crashed to yet another agonising defeat Down Under as Australia fought back to snatch a slender 20-19 victory and seal a series whitewash.
After falling to narrow losses in the opening two Tests Wales only had pride to play for in Sydney, but they looked on course to seal a first win over the Wallabies in their own backyard since 1969 when Leigh Halfpenny struck a late penalty, following tries from Ryan Jones and Australia's Rob Horne.
But Berrick Barnes stepped up to break Welsh hearts again with a 75th minute match-winning penalty.
Rob Howley showed faith in the side that crashed to the 25-23 defeat in Melbourne last week, naming an unchanged starting line-up. Australia were able recall Kurtley Beale after the star full-back had recovered from a shoulder injury.
Wales got off to a worrying start as Sitaleki Timani clattered Halfpenny with a late tackle and Barnes banged over an early penalty. But the red-hot full-back shook off the knock to level the scores in the eighth minute after the Wallabies were penalised for failing to roll away from a ruck.
David Pocock's influence on the game grew and the Wallabies captain managed to snatch two turnovers in quick succession. The Wallabies cleared down field but Sam Warburton proved he was just as potent at the breakdown, stealing possession and breaking clear from deep inside his half.
He was eventually dragged down and Wales hammered at the Wallabies before they settled for a third Halfpenny penalty. Wales were dealt a major blow shortly before the half hour mark with Warburton forced off to be replaced by Justin Tipuric and Barnes compounded Welsh woes with his fourth penalty to hand the Wallabies a 12-9 lead at the interval.
Wales lost another talisman at half-time as Gethin Jenkins failing to return from the changing rooms with Paul James coming on. But the enforced change only strengthened the Welsh scrum and they were rewarded with a penalty, which for the first time in Australia Halfpenny failed to convert.
Following a Beale chip over the top, George North ran the ball back from deep and linked with Alex Cuthbert, who in turn offloaded to Rhys Priestland. The fly-half drilled the ball into the corner and Tipuric forced Beale over his own try-line. Wales continued to exert pressure and Jones crashed over under the posts following strong charges from Mike Phillips and Cuthbert.
Halfpenny fired over the conversion but Horne hit-back within a matter of minutes, after the Wallabies created an easy overlap. He missed the conversion and Halfpenny took full advantage with his fourth successful penalty to set-up a nail-biting finale, but Barnes demonstrated his nerves of steel to seal the win.
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