A BERRICK BARNES penalty five minutes from time gave Australia a 20-19 win for a clean sweep in the three-Test series against Six Nations champions Wales in Sydney on Saturday.
The thrilling one-point win comes just a week after Australia edged out Wales 25-23 with a penalty after the fulltime siren in Melbourne. The Welsh have not won in Australia for 43 years, since their solitary 19-16 win in Sydney in 1969.
The Wallabies, who led 12-9 at halftime, fell behind to a 61st-minute try from number eight Ryan Jones before retrieving the lead with a Rob Horne try after adjudication by the video referee for ball grounding.
Leigh Halfpenny kicked Wales back in front with nine minutes left before Barnes landed a pressure penalty after Wales were caught off-side in the 75th minute.
Wales had a late opportunity when replacement back James Hook kicked ahead downfield with no Australian cover only for the ball to trickle over the sideline 30 metres from the Australian try-line.
The Wallabies won the lineout and effectively ran down the clock to hold on to their one-point advantage.
The opening half was stop-start with South African referee Craig Joubert whistling up a total of 14 penalties.
Barnes and Halfpenny traded penalty kicks with Barnes kicking his fourth to give the Wallabies the lead at halftime.
The Welsh had a setback when they lost their skipper Sam Warburton in the 30th minute after a head knock in a collision with Australia centre Pat McCabe. Warburton, who was on his knees in distress, was replaced by Justin Tipuric.
Halfpenny was worse for wear after appearing to “pop” his left shoulder in a tackle on Wallaby lock Sitaleki Timani in the opening minute. But the Welsh fullback continued on after a trainer re-set his shoulder on the field.
Skipper David Pocock saved the Wallabies twice with turnover ball, with the Welsh looking dangerous in the middle of the first half.
McCabe did not come back on for the second half after breaking his nose in the first, and was replaced by Anthony Fainga’a.
Kurtley Beale, playing in his first international of the season, was off his game and made several handling errors early in the second half.
Meanwhile, Halfpenny had his first goalkicking miss in 14 attempts in the series when his 52-metre effort cannoned off an upright.
Wales hit the front for the first time when Ryan Jones crashed over under the crossbar for a converted try in the 61st minute after concerted pressure on the Wallabies’ try-line.
But the Australians hit straight back with Barnes and Beale combining to give Rob Horne a run to the line.
Horne appeared to lose the ball in a Jonathan Davies’ tackle over the try-line but video replays showed he had part of his hand on the ball as it hit the ground, giving Australia a 17-16 lead with 15 minutes left.
Halfpenny grabbed back the lead with his fourth penalty to give Wales a two-point margin heading into the final 10 minutes.
But Wales then conceded an off-side penalty and Barnes landed the kick to put the Wallabies in front 20-19 with five minutes left.