British and Irish Lions: Leigh Halfpenny misses last-gasp penalty to take Test series to decider

Australia claim narrow 16-15 victory as Adam Ashley-Cooper scores a late try to break Lions' hearts

Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny saw a last minute penalty drop just short of the posts as Australia hauled their way back into the Test series with victory at the Etihad Stadium, meaning their wait for a Test series victory will remain on hold till at least next week.

Centre combination Adam Ashley-Cooper and Christian Leali’ifano hammered the nails into the Lions’ coffin, with the latter converting the former’s 76 minute try to give the hosts a one-point lead heading into the final few minutes.

Halfpenny was given a final chance as the clock expired when referee Craig Joubert awarded a penalty 53m out, but his kick didn’t have the legs and for the second week in a row, the Test was decided on a last-gasp penalty miss.

The tourist had been heroic in defense, but their luck ran out after seeing captain Sam Warburton depart with a knee injury, putting his participation in next week’s decider into serious doubt.

The Lions had a line out inside the Wallaby 22 in the final minutes only to lose the throw and their chance of winning the series in two Tests but now they must take the third match to end a 16 year wait for a series triumph.

The Lions made a great start despite Australia having the kick off and they kept up this tempo until Warburton won a penalty at a ruck by getting hands on the ball and Halfpenny saw his kick hit the crossbar and come back into play with the crowd singing Bread of Heaven.

With the roof closed,it made the noise even louder and the first mistake came from scrum half Ben Youngs who hesitated after good line out ball was won. Another turn over penalty from referee Craig Joubert allowed the Lions to maintain their position deep in Wallaby territory and a fantastic driving maul from the line out brought a penalty which Sexton kicked to touch.

The Lions called a line out with 12 players and drove for the line and Youngs lost the ball,  but another penalty came for pulling down the maul and the referee warned another infringement and a yellow card would be waved.  This time Halfpenny was given the ball and he put the Lions into a 3-0 lead after nine minutes.

The Wallabies responded with a good passage of attacking play and Israel Folau beat George North to a high kick but a knock on gave the visitors a lucky break. However, Mako Vunipola was penalised at a scrum handing Christian Leali’ifano  an easy kick to tie the scores . Vunipola was penalisd again and suddenly the Wallabies were 6-3 up despite all the Lions pressure.

Thankfully Adam Jones was working well on the other side of the scrum and forced a penalty for Halfpenny to tie the scores 6-6 and then another bad scrum allowed the Lions full back to regain the lead with a great kick 9-6.

Dan Lydiate lost concentration and went offside to give away a penalty in this stop start half – dominated by scrums and the referee’s whistle – shortly after Vunipola shoulder charged Adam Ashley Cooper which could lead to a citing. Leali’ifano showed how badly the Wallabies missed him last weekend with another good kick but just before half time the Lions regained their composure and North took a high kick to help set up a penalty which Halfpenny kicked to give his side a slender 12-9 half time advantage.

Vunipola started the second half badly, messing up a good attacking position with a terrible pass to O’Driscoll and suddenly the Lions were scrambling in defence with a knock on helping their cause.  Scrum half Young paid the price for poor passing with Conor Murray coming on after 53mins as the Lions had to continue to dig deep to keep the Wallabies out.

The pace of the game remained high but the skill level low and the Wallabies were starting to believe they really could square the series and called more of their attacking moves to try and break the excellent Lions defence.

 



North then brought Lions fans to their feet picking up Folau on his shoulder as he ran forward with the ball although the Lions wing was hurt and needed treatment for a neck problem.  Hibbard and Cole arrived to bolser the scrum and a penalty results which Halfpenny, close to half way flew between the posts for a 15-9 lead as we entered the final quarter.

Captain Warburton was then hurt in a ruck and had to be replaced by Tom Croft  and O’Driscoll took over as captain in what was a major blow to the Loins and their defensive action.  Jonathan Davies lost the ball in attack and Folau took  play into the Lions 22 and when they got a 10m penalty the Wallabies went for the scrum and the set move failed when Folau knocked on. However the pressure eventually told and Ashley-Cooper dived over for the try after 75mins which  Leali’ifano converted for the lead.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map