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Wallabies bounce back in Melbourne

Australia has come from behind to defeat the British & Irish Lions in the Second Test by a solitary point to square their series at 1-all. In a pulsating contest, the Wallabies were behind for much of the contest but scored the only try of the match in the closing stages, which was converted to give the Wallabies the win.

Similar to last week’s match in Brisbane, the sides were very evenly matched throughout the contest with Lions fullback Leigh Halfpenny again giving his side the edge with his pin-point goal kicking. The two sides predominately played for territory and exchanged penalties, with the Lions going into the break ahead 12-9.

The Wallabies forwards were immense in the second-half, stealing multiple line-outs and their scrummaging again holding strong. Despite their best efforts points were hard to come by and it took a brave decision to go for a try in the closing stages that ultimately helped the Wallabies take the lead.

Down 15-9 with less than ten minutes remaining, the Wallabies decided to pressure the Lions’ line after being awarded a penalty. While their initial efforts were repelled, some backline brilliance from James O'Connor put Adam Ashley-Cooper through a gap and he dived over to give the Wallabies hope of pushing the series to a decider.

Goal-kicker Christian Lealiifano stepped up to take the conversion and the young centre showed the poise of a veteran in calming converting his attempt to give the Wallabies a 16-15 lead. It represented the contrasting fortunes rugby union can throw up, with the rookie being concussed and replaced in the opening minute of the First Test – this week he turned out to be the match winner.

The Wallabies still had to endure a nervous finish, giving away a penalty on half-way in the dying minutes. In scenes similar to last week there would be a kick for goal after full time to win the match. While the boot was on the other foot this week with the Lions having the chance to snatch victory, the result was the same. Halfpenny leaving his attempt short, allowing the Wallabies to celebrate a famous victory in front of a sold-out Melbourne crowd.

The decider will be played in Sydney next weekend and promises to be another engrossing spectacle. If you’re not fortunate enough to have secured tickets to the match we’ll again have all the action on our big screen. Hopefully the Wallabies can repeat their sterling effort and send the Lions home whimpering.

Damien Bellemore

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