Kurtley Beale's late try earned Australia victory against Wales
Last Updated: 01/12/12 7:55pm
Kurtley Beale's last-minute try gave Australia a 14-12 victory over Wales, who have now lost their last seven Tests.
Leigh Halfpenny's four penalties, two in each half, put the Six Nations champions 12-9 ahead after 60 minutes and on course for their first win over one of the big southern hemisphere countries since 2008.
Wales defended stoutly until the final minute when Wallabies stand-off Beale was released into space and won a race to the line for the only try of the match.
Beale was responsible for all of Australia's points, his three first-half penalties giving the visitors a 9-6 advantage at the break.
Wales edged back into the lead thanks to two Halfpenny penalties in quick succession and it stayed that way until the final play.
Halfpenny was stretchered off wearing a neck brace after being injured trying to make a tackle in the build-up to Beale's try.
Australia lock Nathan Sharpe, playing in his 116th and final Test, signed off his international career by taking the conversion, although it dropped short.
The result continues Wales' miserable run of form since their Grand Slam earlier in the year. They have also lost to New Zealand, Samoa and Argentina during the autumn programme - and went down to a 3-0 series defeat on their summer tour of Australia.
The consequences will be felt immediately for Warren Gatland's men as they have dropped outside the top eight in the world rankings ahead of of the 2015 World Cup draw in London on December 3. That means Wales will be a tier three nation and face a tough group.
Wales v Australia
Robbie Deans said Australia's last-minute victory over Wales was a fitting end to "a game that had everything."
Coach Warren Gatland admits the Wales team was "gutted" to lose 14-12 to Australia.
Wales have been hit by a late injury blow ahead of Saturday's clash with Australia after Ian Evans was ruled out.