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Self-belief and fitness lift revitalised line-up for the final surge when it matters most

Last gasp … Wallabies players celebrate with relief after overcoming a spirited Wales in Melbourne on Saturday.

Last gasp … Wallabies players celebrate with relief after overcoming a spirited Wales in Melbourne on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images

SLOWLY but surely the Wallabies are winning the tight ones. As their coach realises, it is only when they do that regularly can they properly push for the No.1 international rugby ranking.

In recent times, the Wallabies were guilty of falling away late in Tests, but the past two internationals against the Wales have shown, like the great Australian Test line-ups in the 1980s and '90s, they have the will to play to the last second and finish on top - even if by the tiniest of margins. When they consistently do that, the belief that they are impenetrable just grows. From an All Blacks background, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans knows that intimately.

After a spectacular night where Deans virtually assured himself that he will be the Australian coach until at least the end of next season, he applauded the players for starting to believe in themselves.

The Wallabies celebrate winning the Test. Click for more photos

Wallabies snatch victory over Wales

New Zealand-born Mike Harris kicked a penalty goal after the siren to seal a two-point win over Wales. Photo: Getty Images

It also indicated that for a change luck is starting to go Deans's way. That was certainly the case during the Rod Macqueen era, where he often appeared blessed by the good-fortune fairy.

Now Deans can talk about how his team just got ahead of South Africa 11-9 in last year's World Cup quarter-final, a few months earlier succeeding 14-9 in Durban, beating the All Blacks 26-24 in Hong Kong in 2010 and also the Springboks 41-39 in Bloemfontein that year.

Deans yesterday said winning the tight Tests consistently ''was very important for the players''.

''The group was composed at the critical time. They knew the importance of winning possession. They got the ball and produced enough pressure to draw a stress response from the Welsh.''

Deans was referring to Wales five-eighth Rhys Priestland kicking the ball away in the final minute giving the Wallabies unexpected possession. Even Wales captain Sam Warburton couldn't believe it, saying ''the plan was to keep the ball''. One Welsh player screamed: ''Oh no!''

Deans explained that Priestland's response was understandable.

''He kicked for a reason. He was feeling pressure,'' he said.

''Also, there is no doubt those sort of wins produce a deposit and you get your belief back. The All Blacks are living proof of that. Look at their Test against Ireland on Saturday night. They did exactly that.

''We've had some good results under the pump, such as our win on the highveld in Bloemfontein when we came from behind. But if you go back a number of years, we were losing fixtures probably more through conditioning. From the 60-minute mark on we have now started to pick up. But this year's Rugby Championship will be the litmus test.''

Wallabies centre Rob Horne also said: ''That was huge. It's all about belief … to actually feel like you can still hold onto the ball and make something happen … ''

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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