Updated: 17/06/2012 07:30 | By pa.press.net

Harris breaks Welsh hearts



Leigh Halfpenny's accuracy with the boot could not prevent Wales suffering defeat

Leigh Halfpenny's accuracy with the boot could not prevent Wales suffering defeat

Substitute Mike Harris broke Welsh hearts with an injury-time penalty to snatch a dramatic 25-23 win for Australia in Melbourne.

Wales appeared on course to keep the series alive with an historic first win over the Wallabies in Australia since 1969 as the faultless boot of Leigh Halfpenny kept the Grand Slam champions in front.

But with the clock in the red New Zealand referee Chris Pollock penalised Wales after Australia launched a powerful rolling maul and Harris showed nerves of steel to crush Welsh dreams.

Wales came flying out of the blocks with a series of powerful pick and drives. Mike Phillips, Halfpenny and Alex Cuthbert were all prominent in the build up as Wales roared into the Wallabies half before George North powered over from close range. Halfpenny maintained his 100 per cent record Down Under to stretch Wales' early lead to seven points.

Berrick Barnes hit back for the hosts and added a second penalty on the half-hour mark to cut Wales' lead to one point. Wales did themselves no favours and lost a succession of lineouts on their own throw as the pressure mounted.

Wales were penalised after pouncing on loose ball from a lineout. Phillips handed the Wallabies another opportunity to attack after his box-kick went out on the full and Barnes beat Sam Warburton on the outside to dummy past Ashley Beck and release Rob Horne for the crucial try. Barnes then added the extras on the stroke of half-time.

But the Dragons again started the half firing. Will Genia threw an aimless pass which was hacked through by Beck and Jonathan Davies beat Rob Simmons in the foot race to score. Halfpenny expertly slotted the conversion to regain the lead, and the full-back exchanged penalties with Barnes as Wales kept their noses in front.

Barnes knocked over another penalty but Australia were dealt a blow when Cooper Vuna was sent to the sin-bin after a clumsy challenge on Halfpenny in the air. The diminutive full-back slotted a monster penalty to regain the slender lead. Barnes hit-back after Bradley Davies was penalised at the break down but Halfpenny was again on target.

Wales continued to dominate the battle up front but they fell foul of the scrum lottery and Barnes stepped up to slot the simple penalty. But amazingly the fly-half, who appeared to be carrying a knock, pushed his effort wide and quickly departed to be replaced by Harris.

Australia frantically hammered at Wales but Rob Howley's men held strong as mistakes creeped into the Wallabies game. But Wales were penalised with the clock ticking and Australia kicked to the corner. They launched a rolling maul and Wales were penalised, with New Zealand-born fly-half Harris writing his name in Wallaby history.

0Comments
Get the Bing Sports App for Windows 8 (© Microsoft)

latest rugby news

  • Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCaffertyhas confirmed changes to the salary cap

    Premiership Rugby chiefs have confirmed changes to the league's salary cap from next season.

  • Ruaridh Jackson has suffered a serious knee injury

    Scotland international Ruaridh Jackson could be out for the season after suffering a serious knee injury during Wasps' Aviva Premiership victory over Northampton last Sunday.

  • Leigh Halfpenny's contract position with Toulon could become clearer in the near future

    Wales assistant coach Rob Howley has admitted he was "flabbergasted" to read comments made by controversial Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal about Leigh Halfpenny.

  • Saracens rugby director Mark McCall, pictured, has added Catalin Fercu to his squad

    Saracens have announced the signing of Romania international Catalin Fercu.

  • Andrew Coombs has been banned for three games

    Wales international forward Andrew Coombs has received a three-week ban after being cited for allegedly stamping on an opponent's head.

  • Harlequins Director of rugby Conor O'Shea believes they need to be allowed extra cap space to compete with French rugby

    Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea believes Aviva Premiership clubs have "little alternative" but to ratify a second salary cap increase in two years to keep pace with big-spending French counterparts.

  • England wing Jack Nowell has made a successful comeback from injury in an A League match for Exeter

    England wing Jack Nowell has made a successful return to action after being sidelined since March.

  • Gordon D'Arcy, pictured, could switch centre berths and fill the No13 Ireland shirt vacated by Brian O'Driscoll.

    Gordon D'Arcy could prove Ireland boss Joe Schmidt's surprise choice to succeed Brian O'Driscoll at outside centre.

  • Leicester hooker Tom Youngs is aiming to break back into England action after missing the summer's New Zealand tour

    Tom Youngs has admitted it was a "relief" when Stuart Lancaster confirmed missing England's New Zealand tour would not affect his Rugby World Cup chances.

  • Chief executive Mark McCafferty, pictured, believes a salary cap hike can help Aviva Premiership clubs keep England's best players on home soil

    Increasing the Aviva Premiership's buying power will stop England's top stars heading overseas after Rugby World Cup 2015, according to club bosses.

  • The rubber grip areas on England's new shirt are inspired by the Victoria Cross

    England will wear symbols of the Victoria Cross for the first time this autumn after rubber grip areas inspired by the military medal were added to the national side's new kit.

  • Tom Varndell scored a try for Wasps as they beat Northampton at Adams Park

    Northampton's devastating start to their Aviva Premiership title defence is now a distant memory after they crashed to a 20-16 defeat against Wasps at Adams Park.