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Wallabies steal last-gasp win

Date

Melissa Woods

Mike Harris of the Wallabies celebrates kicking the winning penalty goal.

Mike Harris of the Wallabies celebrates kicking the winning penalty goal. Photo: Cameron Spencer

WALLABIES back Mike Harris kicked a penalty from close to the sideline after full-time to steal a 25-23 victory from Wales in a heart-stopping affair in their Test in Melbourne last night.

Wales looked to have secured its first win on Australian soil in 43 years but a penalty for collapsing a maul in the final seconds gave replacement Harris the chance for glory.

The visitors showed their trademark fighting spirit as the lead changed hands nine times at Etihad Stadium. But the loss meant a James Bevan Trophy series victory for Australia, which took out the first Test in Brisbane last week.

Wallabies flyhalf Berrick Barnes only flew into Melbourne hours before kick-off after being at the birth of his son.

Wallabies flyhalf Berrick Barnes only flew into Melbourne hours before kick-off after being at the birth of his son. Photo: Quinn Rooney

New Zealand-born Harris, playing in only his second Test, said he was excited to be given the opportunity to win the match for his side.

''It's a kicker's dream to be able to win the game,'' said the Queensland Reds player, who missed two long-range kicks in atrocious conditions in his recent debut against Scotland.

Australian coach Robbie Deans said the composure shown by his team was a sign of its growing maturity. ''Fortunately the boys had enough composure when they were under the pump at the death there to get their hands on the ball one more time, produce some pressure and produce an outcome,'' Dean said.

He said he knew the Welsh would be in it at the end.

''They're an 80-minute side, they're very much a second-half side so you've got to work the full 80,'' Deans said.

Wales coach Rob Howley said his team had done enough to win.

''I thought our defence was outstanding,'' Howley said.

''For 79 minutes and 40 seconds we'd done a lot of good. We were hugely disappointed having outscored Australia two tries to one.''

Welsh skipper Sam Warburton said his team should have kept the ball in hand rather than kicking it away in the final minute to give Australia possession and a chance of a penalty.

New dad Berrick Barnes looked to inspire the Wallabies to wrap up the series after making it back to Melbourne just a few hours before kick-off and he was named man of the match.

The flyhalf dashed home to Sydney late on Friday to be at the birth of his first child - a son, Archie.

Barnes set up the Wallabies' only try of the match just before half-time when he threw a superb dummy before offloading to a rampaging Rob Horne.

He also added 17 points through five penalties from six attempts and a conversion before being replaced by Harris with seven minutes remaining.

Wallabies rookie Cooper Vuna, playing only his second Test, made a costly blunder when he took out Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny in the air and was yellow-carded.

Halfpenny kicked that penalty which put his side ahead at the 60th minute 20-19.

Wales started both halves on fire, scoring within the opening three minutes of each.

While he had an excellent game, Barnes made a poor start when he kicked the ball out on the full from outside his team's 22.

Wales then piled the pressure on the home side and, after eight phases hammering the Wallabies defence, winger George North found a hole to plant the ball across the line in the third minute of the match.

The Wallabies threw everything at the visitors as the clock wound down and looked like they would have to settle for a loss, with the series to be decided in Sydney next Saturday.

But then Harris stepped up to nail the kick and break Welsh hearts. AAP

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Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR vs AUS 01:30Twic
USA vs NZL 07:00Soldier Field
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs SAM 01:00Stadio Del Duca
ENG vs NZL 01:30Twic
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IRE vs RSA 04:30Lansdowne Road
SCO vs ARG 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs ARG 01:00Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris
ENG vs RSA 01:30Twic
WAL vs FJI 01:30MilS
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FRA vs AUS 07:00StdF
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs RSA 01:00Stadio Plebiscito
SCO vs TGA 01:30Rugby Park
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