Australia v British and Irish Lions: Wallabies level series with dramatic Melbourne win
By Alex Williams. Last Updated: 29/06/13 2:26pm
A late try from Adam Ashley-Cooper gave Australia a series-levelling 16-15 victory over the British and Irish Lions in Melbourne.
The Lions were ahead for the majority of the second half but their defence could not hold up under a desperate barrage from the hosts.
Ashley-Cooper's 75th-minute try brought the Wallabies to within a point, with Christian Leali'ifano nailing a tough conversion to clinch the victory and set up a third-Test decider in Sydney.
Leigh Halfpenny scored all of the Lions points but fell short with a last-gasp penalty from the halfway line which would have completed a series success for the tourists.
The match was a slugfest which lacked the expansive attacking of the opening Test, with Brian O'Driscoll setting the tone with a big early hit on Ashley-Cooper. But Halfpenny missed a chance to give the Lions the lead when his long-range penalty hit the bar.
The tourists continued to put the pressure on and won another penalty after Australia were penalised at the maul, with Halfpenny making no mistake from wide on the left.
Australia eventually got their bearings and, after the Lions collapsed two scrums, Leali'ifano edged the Wallabies in front with two penalties of his own.
Another collapsed scrum, this time with the hosts at fault, allowed Halfpenny to level matters at 6-6 and the Wales full-back then slotted over another penalty to put the Lions back in front.
Leali'ifano and Halfpenny then traded penalties again to leave the Lions 12-9 up at the end of an intense opening half.
Australia made a bright start after the interval but did not manage to put any points on the board as the hour mark came and went.
In fact it was the Lions who edged ever closer to a series win when a powerful scrum yielded yet another penalty and Halfpenny split the uprights from just inside the opposition half.
With fewer than 15 minutes remaining Lions skipper Sam Warburton was forced off through injury, depriving the tourists of a key player as the Wallabies started to turn the screw.
The resistance was almost broken with 10 minutes remaining as Australia surged towards the line, but two handling errors initially prevented them from crossing it for the try they needed.
However, the Wallabies came forward again and this time would not be stopped as Ashley-Cooper went over from close range, with Leali'ifano's conversion and Halfpenny's miss at the other end ensuring the series will head to a decider.
Lions v Australia, second Test 2013
Mike Phillips admits he was devastated to be left out of the Lions team for the second Test with Australia.
Sky Sports brings you all the best of the action, reaction and opinion from the Etihad Stadium.
Find out what our experts thought as Australia won the second Test against the Lions in Melbourne.
- O'Driscoll: Massive week ahead
- Warburton: Lions will respond
- Ashley-Cooper revels in win
- Gatland points to turnovers
- Howley: Let's seal series win
- Horwill out to silence critics
- Dallaglio: Wallabies wounded
- Leali'ifano keen to kick on
- Howley's warning to the Lions
- Lions ratings
- Australia 16 Lions 15
- Word of BO'D inspires Lions
- North regrets try celebration