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Qantas Wallabies 16 The British & Irish Lions 15


The Wallabies levelled the test series with a 16-15 win against the British & Irish Lions in Melbourne.

All the action in the first half was dominated by the respective strengths in the set piece from both sides.

The Lions lead the early exchanges with a series of rolling mauls to heap the pressure on Australia early on. Leigh Halfpenny kicked the first points of the game after the Wallabies collapsed the maul.

The Wallabies came back roaring back at the Lions. They targeted Mako Vunipola in the scrum and won two penalties as a result of Vunipola dropping the scrum, both of which were converted by Christian Leali’ifano to give the wallabies the lead.

Vunipola was under huge pressure from the Australians and with the Lions avoiding the scrums where possible it was ironic that the next scrum was created as a result of Vunipola himself knocking on in midfield.

Vunipola responded by holding his end up and Adam Jones won the penalty on the other side. A further test in the scrum from Vunipola resulted in another penalty chance for Halfpenny.

The Lions took the lead on the stroke of half time courtesy of another penalty from Halfpenny following a kick chase from George North.

After the break, the match was a more cagey affair, with the scores remaining tight until the 60th minute when Leigh Halfpenny fired a long range penalty through the posts to take a 9-15 lead, but the big drama was yet to come.

The Wallabies threw the kitchen sink at the Lions, and the Lions picked up key injuries in the pack, not least to skipper Sam Warburton.

Australia built momentum slowly and were throwing the ball out wide trying to get the dangerous Israel Folau into play, but the Lions were defending for their lives inside their own half.

The Lions repelled wave after wave of attacks and eventually the defence broke and Adam Ashley-Cooper crashed through Jonathan Davies to score leaving the Wallabies a conversion from the lead.  Leali’ifano duly did the business under pressure with just three minutes left on the clock.

The Wallabies then reverted to defence mode to secure the ball and run down the clock, but with just twenty seconds left the Lions won the penalty inside their own half and charged forward.

An number of last ditch attacks after the hooter ensued and the Lions won the penalty on the halfway line.  With no time for an attacking set piece the decision was between kicking for goal from distance of running the ball again with the danger of losing possession and the match.

Halfpenny steps forward and takes the kick on, but it was right on the edge of his distance and despite a  valiant effort on goal, it falls short and the Wallabies kick it out to level the series.

Lions captain Sam Warburton “We’re going through what Australia went through last week. They boys will realise we’ve still got a Test series up for grabs. There’s some good stuff in there. We’re definitely capable of winning the Test series. It’s going to be won by a whisker next week and I hope it’s us.”

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