Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe’s last game turned out to be a last minute thriller as Australia beat Wales 14-12 in Cardiff on Saturday.
With just 23 seconds remaining, Kurtley Beale scored a final minute try to push the Wallabies over the line at the right hand corner.
Despite leading 9-6 at halftime, Wales took the lead in the 60th minute. In need of a score the Wallabies began running at every opportunity and it paid off; Sharpe left with a third successive Test victory after wins in Italy and England.
Sharpe’s exit was an emotional one.
"I didn't want to take my boots off," he said later.
"I knew once I took them off … that was it."
The Beale try didn’t prolong Sharpe’s career, but it may have given coach Robbie Deans a little extra time at the helm. Deans has come under heavy scrutiny in what was initially a poor season for the green and gold, however the three wins to finish off the year left the Wallabies with a nine win, five loss and one draw season.
''For the group to find a way to win in the 80th minute against one of the best-conditioned teams in the world, away, knowing there's a holiday coming … they could easily have turned their toes up but it's a great trait they're developing, they just kept coming, looking for a way to win,'' said Deans.
The win was an important one leading up to Monday’s 2015 World Cup draw, but it did little to improve Australia’s standing. The Wallabies remain third behind South Africa and New Zealand.
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