Second Test revisited: Wallabies 16 Lions 15

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Second Test revisited: Wallabies 16 Lions 15

An expectant sea of red swept into Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium for the second Test, a week on from their nail-biting win in Brisbane, knowing victory would clinch a first series win for 16 years.

But, just like their Australian counterparts seven days earlier, the British & Irish Lions fans were left to contemplate what might have been when the normally reliable Leigh Halfpenny missed a penalty right on the edge of his range with the final kick of the game and the Qantas Wallabies held on for a 16-15 win to level the series.

Three minutes after Adam Ashley-Cooper had touched down with the sole try of the match, the Lions carved out a penalty opportunity on the halfway line as the hooter sounded.

It left Wales full-back Halfpenny the chance to kick for glory, but his failure to find the centre of the posts set up a winner takes all showdown in Sydney.

Christian Leali'ifano, stretchered off injured in the first minute of the first Test in Brisbane, enjoyed a 100 per cent success rate off the tee.

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But Halfpenny too took little time to find his range, after hitting the bar with his first penalty attempt in the opening 60 seconds.

The Lions held a slender 12-9 advantage at half-time, but with a series victory in sight the Australia supporters sat nervously while those backing the Lions cranked up the noise levels.

Those wearing red among the 56,771 crowd – the largest ever for a sporting event at the Stadium – roared in unison as George North manhandled Israel Folau as the historic win appeared to be edging ever closer.

The first score of the second period arrived on 63 minutes when Halfpenny whistled over his kick from just a metre inside the Wallabies half.

But when the tourists captain Sam Warburton limped away from the action with 12 minutes to play, Australia played with renewed vigour.

And on 77 minutes Ashley-Cooper touched down after the Lions had failed to clear their lines as Folau made a desperate bid for the corner and Leali’ifano made no mistake with the extras.

Yet there was still the chance for Halfpenny to snatch glory, but his kick was off target and the Lions supporters were forced to keep the champagne on ice. For another week anyway.

The Lions fans descend on Melbourne's Etihad Stadium

 

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