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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Wallabies snatch dramatic win over Wales at the death

Wallaby replacement back Mike Harris came on and kicked a penalty with time up to give Australia a dramatic 25-23 win over Wales in the second Test in Melbourne. Despite Wales coming close this time, the Wallabies have secured the series 2-0.

Harris came on for Berrick Barnes, who had been having a great game and kicking well. A problem with his hip meant he went off in the final ten minutes, making way for Harris, who this season has been one of the best kickers in Super Rugby.

When the penalty came, he stepped up and cooley slotted it, breaking the hearts of the Welsh after they looked like claiming their first win over the Wallabies in Australia in 42 years.

"It's every player's dream, to win the match with the final kick," said Harries. "It was awesome and I am really glad it went over and we got a different result to Scotland."

Harries got his chance after Welsh number ten Rhys Priestland had kicked possesion away with roughly a minute left in the match, a decision that the forwards weren't happy about.

"I remember hearing Ryan Jones shouting 'no' at the top of his voice. It wasn't what the forwards were planning," said Sam Warburton. "I can understand why the backs might have wanted to kick it but from a forward's point of view I would have wanted to back our contact skills and keep the ball."

Wales will get another opportunity for a win in the third Test, in Sydney.

"Wales are a very good side. They give you nothing and they take their scoring chances. They showed that in the Six Nations and they showed it again last weekend," said Robbie Deans.

"While they can no longer win the series, they can still achieve something only one other Welsh team has ever achieved by winning in Australia. And they have that opportunity in front of them with no real downside - nothing to fear so to speak, as the series is beyond them," he said.

Kurtley Beale will make his return to Wallaby colours, despite the 23 year-old facing a police charge for assault. He missed the first two games with a shoulder injury, but during that time got involved in a scuffle with security guards at a pub in Brisbane.

He will start at fullback, while Adam Ashley-Cooper moves to the wing to replace Cooper Vuna.

Below are highlights of the game, and you can also watch the whole thing again here

Posted by Rugbydump at 7:58 am | View Comments (28)

Viewing 28 comments

Jimmy June 20, 2012 1:38 pm

someone please get a close shot of the wallabies player catching the ball behind his back from halfpenny's kick on 3:30

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Nunny June 20, 2012 3:19 pm

Was in the crowd for that one. AAC is a genius!

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Reality June 20, 2012 8:30 pm

Ah, I thought I was the only one to see it. It was amazing!

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Pretzel June 20, 2012 4:54 pm

A quick question, I am no expert when it comes to the maul... or at least the laws of the maul, however it seems to me that the welsh player at the very end worked his way through the maul and got to the ball carrier... should he not be allowed to grab hold of the ball carrier and pull him down?

I mean I may be "legally" incorrect here, but it seems like he should have been allowed if not "ethically" to do that... You work your way THROUGH the maul, and the opposition is so slack that they LET you through then surely by the time you get to the ball carrier you should borderline be allowed to do whatever you want...

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welshhero June 20, 2012 6:36 pm

I think there is a fundamental issue with this area, time and time again you can see a dominant pack go through the opposition and the second row and scrum half peel around the still binding winning pack, pressure the ball and often turn it over. Surely if a pack is splintering the opposition then these players should be offside, regardless of where the ball is? I feel reffing like this makes a scrum obsolete.

On another note, Australia knew they were in trouble in the scrum so they early engage and only give a free kick away instead of a penalty. Its a trick Wales pulled after loosing their lions trio. Surely the ref should be wise by now. On the whole a good scrum is now becoming needless, exactly what SH teams are trying to achieve.

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welshhero June 20, 2012 6:44 pm

Wales were terrible and kicked ball away to very dangerous runners and got what they deserved.

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Jon June 21, 2012 1:00 am

Welshhero, the Wallabies were certainly not under that much pressure in the scrum. It's just an assumption that NH types make about the Australian scrum.
Robinson, Kepu, Polota-Nau are good scrummagers, and have won a couple penalties off the Welsh scrum so far in this series.
At no point have they been dismantled or smashed by the Welsh scrum.
This wallabies scrum is solid enough, without being dominant.
At no point was Wales taking them apart.

In terms of the free kicks at the end it was because Alexander and Moore came on, and it disrupted the timing on the scrum. Robinson, Polota-Nau and Kepu all play together at the Waratahs and have a good understanding in the set piece.
Alexander and Moore threw the timing out. Even then they were only off by about half a second or a second, it's not like they were completely avoiding a hit.

The idea they were doing it on purpose is nuts. Why would they start intentionally giving away free kicks when their scrum wasn't under much pressure?

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welshhero June 21, 2012 10:33 pm

Jon, the comment about the loose forward pressuring the ball after a scrum was a general one and you see it all the time and i think is fundamentally wrong that a dominant scrum is not rewarded. I agree that the scrum has held up well, however I do believe that the Wallabies would have been weary of the lions trio and with Ken Owens out our scrum is better. Also if the scrum was refereed properly i think we would have demolished the Wallabies. As for penalties its a lottery and depends what the ref is looking at.
Giving away free kicks is a no brainer, far less advantage and less effort than contesting and loosing the scrum and no potential for penalties. And i do believe that there were no properly completed scrums as the reff allowed play even when front rows splinter/collapsed/popped-up.

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Pretzel June 21, 2012 2:04 am

Apparently my eyes saw something different to what happened, either that or I have a different game in my mind, I just watched the highlights and I can't seem to see what I THOUGHT happened...

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Reality June 21, 2012 11:29 pm

Do you mean that this time you were unable to see what you said before about the guy legally getting to the ball-carrier? Because when I read your comment about that, I didn't know what you were on about. Unless I'm missing something, it looks like an undeniable penalty for illegally collapsing the maul.

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Pretzel June 22, 2012 2:56 am

Sorry, I meant during the game I THOUGHT (key word) I saw the maul collapse in what I would deem a fairly legal fashion... in the highlights I can't see it, so I must have either got games mixed up or imagined the whole thing... Basically that questionable jargon up there is my mess I imagined, not the referee's or the players.. lol

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Matt June 20, 2012 4:54 pm

Dreadful call on the penalty at the end: maul had already stopped moving, so why exactly would Wales try to collapse it?

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Eggman June 20, 2012 5:12 pm

How was that a dreadful call? You can clearly see the Welshplayer (I'm not sure about which one, so I'll call him the one in a direct line with the camera and the touch judge) deliberatly grabbing on to as many players as he can and than falling over backwards. As soon as he falls over the entire maul collapses towards the side he pulled (happens between 4:03 and 4:05).

And why would he collapse it? You can similarly ask why Priestland would kick away possession with about 1 minute left and a knock on advantage, or why the Welsh would give away a completely unncessary penalty that led to the final line out.. I think they simply panicked at the prospect of losing again and lost their head.

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Reality June 20, 2012 8:16 pm

I couldn't agree more Eggman. The Welsh guy was clearly grabbing onto every Wallaby within reach and then dragged them down with him when he fell over. He was nowhere near the ball-carrier, so there's no argument to be made that he was tackling the guy with the ball. Perfect call from the referee.

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Ando June 21, 2012 1:07 am

There was a great moment not captured in the highlights: after the final penalty is awarded, captain Pocock hands the ball to Harris, shakes his hand, says something to him and Harris gives him a wry smile back before setting up to take the kick to win it. Wish I knew what Pocock said to him!

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PiratesRugby June 21, 2012 2:04 am

I understand he said something like "if you get this or miss it, we'll all still love you". That's what brought the smile.

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Ando June 22, 2012 7:02 am


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Pretzel June 21, 2012 2:11 am

Oh yeh, I was going to say that I completely had Priestland mixed up with Halfpenny (or vice versa)... When everyone was saying Priestland was over rated I was thinking "Well... not reallly, he's sort of been doing all he can (thinking about Halfpenny!)"... it was only when I watched THIS game I realised who Priestland was... and yes, I agree, he is TOTALLY over rated... I mean the guy is young so give him time and he may make a great impact, but so far I've seen Tobias Botes put in better kicks than that guy...

I cannot believe my ears that I heard the commentators talking last week about "can Priestland make the step up to elitedom" or some bull like that... the guy is terrible... His kicking cost Wales the game I'd say... It was straight down the throats of some of the best attacking runners in the rugby... How was that EVER going to be helpful??

HOW they managed to keep the score so tight I do not know... I can only say either the Aussies didn't have their laces done up properly or the Welsh defence was immense to cover the gaps created by that loose kicking...

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Eggman June 21, 2012 8:57 am

I think people have been a bit too harsh on Priestland. Maybe not on rugbydump, but especially on Welsh and English newspapers. Many seemed to have blamed the loss on Priestland alone for kicking away the ball in the end.

While I agree that his kicking was dreadful (and will cost them far more if they do it next week when Kurtley Beale is at fullback), it seems unfair to only blame him for the loss. The final kick was quite useful I thought. They were under a huge amount of pressure at the breakdown and then Webb passes the ball out to Priestland, who has about 2-3 Wallabies running straight at him without that much support. So he boots it a long way downfield, and the Welsh actually manage a decent change and catch the Wallabies about 30-40 metres away of the Aussie try line. They could have quite easily hung on from there and stopped the aussies from scoring points. However, what cost them were the bufoonish (spelling?) behaviour of two Welsh forwards who infringed about 5 times in this ruck without real necessaty.

Maybe they panicked and infringed because of that, or they were overly motivated or something like that.. But if they really want to beat the SH teams they have to be a bit more composed.
Just compare it to the Aussies and the ABs. The Wallabies never seemed to doubt that once they got that penalty they would score. That was despite they knocked the ball on about 2-3 times in the last 5 minutes. Instead they just did what they had to do and got rewarded.
The same goes for ABs, who, despite being a man down, just worked their way up the field and trusted in Dan Carter to slot the drop goal, even though he just missed one minutes before.
The Welsh need the same kind of attitude if they want to regularly beat the best in the world.

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Pretzel June 21, 2012 11:02 am

I wouldn't say Priestland as an individual AT an individual moment cost Wales the game, however I'd say his loose kicking which hasn't been seen from the likes of Stephen Jones/Hook et al, cost Wales the game... The two buffoonish forwards indeed gave away countless penalties, however you can still win a game with a couple clowns in the brains trust, but to win a game with loose kicking from a player in arguably the most key position on the pitch is borderline impossible...

I don't know what the Welsh or English papers have been saying about Priestland, and I don't base my opinion purely on this game alone.. Consider what I said about mixing him and Halfpenny up... How does one mix up a fullback with a fly half? The fly half is constantly in the mix of it... or apparently not, otherwise I might have known who he was... I don't believe Priestland should be hung out to dry, however there is a huge sense of over rated-ness, surrounding him, a la, the commentators last week talking about "is this the step up to elitism" etc... Priestland looks about as far away from elitism as I would if someone stuck a 10 shirt on me...

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Rugbyfan2012 June 21, 2012 5:36 am

In response to how Wales managed to keep the score so tight: for starters look at the second try they scored, a straight up gift of 7 points from the Wallabies

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WelshWizard June 21, 2012 9:44 am

Could say the same about the Wallaby's single try: Beck and Warburton parted like the red sea. If you want to brand every try originating from a mistake a 'gift', there won't be many left for you to cheer...

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Ando June 21, 2012 4:04 pm

You're really labeling the Aussie's try and the Welsh second try as the same sorta thing, originating from a mistake? Oh come on... The Wallabies executed a well-worked backline move off the set piece (lineout) to perfection, in contrast to the Welsh try which exploited a big mistake from Genia (misdirected inside ball that went to ground when the whole team was "up" in attack) by toeing the ball forward towards the Aussie goal-line.

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breakaway June 21, 2012 7:53 am

The rolling maul has sometimes been such a strong point of the NH forward game in recent years, it's ironic that it should have been the final decisive tactic by Australia in this test. Perfectly executed for about 15 metres, it eventually drew the penalty in the way England so often did in their WC heyday. I can't help thinking that if Wales had managed to win the game with a similar move a lot of comments would be about how brilliantly done it was. I agree with Jon that although by no means a great unit, this is a solid Wallaby pack and in the end it was their execution of the last maul that set up the win.
Looking again at Genia's blooper that lead to Wales' second try, his extra-enthusiastic celebration at the end must've been 50% pure relief.

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cool calm and collected June 21, 2012 6:11 pm

Lets be honest Rhy Priestland has effctivley lost this tour for Wales.
This is highlighted by his poor catch of the ball, where he knocked it on, with the line beckoning as Wales' momentum was building.
Then in the second test he kicked the ball back to Ausgtralia with 2 mins left!!!!!!! All he had to do was to take it in, and keep pocession.
On top of this he does'nt even kick the goals!

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welshhero June 21, 2012 10:47 pm

Priestland is only good when is he takes a backseat and directs the backline, when he playes with his head up and turns the defence he is good with accurate kicking, he was the reason for Wales having a half decent worldcup. Knowing him personally he has a very high opinion of himself. As soon as he tries to get himself on TV and make linebreaks and get involved (prob trying to be Dan Carter) his all-round game suffers and he is terrible and gets rattled.

However it must be remembered that we dont have any other alternatives. (Hook does not have the vision in my opinion and Mr Biggar has allot to learn.)

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Pretzel June 21, 2012 11:30 pm

I thought Hook offered a bit more in attack than Priestland? Maybe I'm wrong.. I see what you're saying, he tried to get more involved and the rest of his game suffered....but you mentioned his accurate kicking... I understand if he gets involved and can't live up to where HE thinks HE should be, but then to let it affect his kicking is ridiculous! He seriously needs to sort himself out if it affects his kicking as bad as it did against Australia...

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welshhero June 22, 2012 12:42 am

In my opinion I dont think Hook has the ability to dictate a game on his own, I feel he is very good in attack but not a complete 10 and think 12 is his position, but certainly not full-back.

If Priestland knew where his strength lied then he could be a v.good no 10, not that we have seen evidence of this in the last to games.

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