Welsh despair down under

Western Telegraph: Jonathan Davies puts Wales back in front early in the second half. Picture Huw Evans Picture Agency Jonathan Davies puts Wales back in front early in the second half. Picture Huw Evans Picture Agency

A second half try from Jonathan Davies wasn’t enough as Wales went down to an agonising defeat against Australia in Melbourne.

With his side trailing 13-7, former Whitland centre Davies struck just moments into the second half, when he showed good pace and composure to latch onto a hack upfield by Ashley Beck and score.

It was a first international try for Davies since the opening game of Wales Six Nations campaign against Ireland in February.

Leigh Halfpenny kicked the resultant conversion to edge the Welsh back in front, but they were later undone by a last gasp penalty by Wallaby replacement Will Harries.

Mike Phillips also started again at scrum half, and caught the eye in the first half with a powerful break upfield that should have led to a Welsh try.

But Phillips’ partnership with outside half Rhys Priestland may now be under question as the pair failed to establish any real control on the game.

Phillips was replaced late on by Ospreys scrum half Rhys Webb.

The tourists were ahead inside four minutes when winger George North powered over from close range.

But two penalties from Australia outside half Berrick Barnes narrowed the deficit, before the youngster set up centre Rob Horne to put the home side ahead at the break.

After Davies restored the Welsh lead, Halfpenny and Barnes both kicked three penalties each and Wales led 23-22 going into the dying minutes.

But the visitors were given a reprieve after Gethin Jenkins was penalised at a scrum, and Barnes, suffering from a groin strain, hooked a simple penalty wide.

Wales had possession of the ball with a minute remaining, but a loose kick from Priestland allowed the Wallabies to break upfield, before referee Chris Pollock penalised the Welsh pack for collapsing a maul.

New Zealand born Harries then stepped up to slot a superb penalty from the left hand touchline, and deny Wales a first win against the Wallabies on Australian soil since 1969.

Wales now head to the third test in Sydney this Saturday looking to avoid a 3-0 series whitewash.

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