British and Irish Lions sharpshooter left to rue what might have been.
Australian fullback Kurtley Beale knows a thing or two about missing important kicks.
That’s why Beale said he knew how British and Irish Lions superboot Leigh Halfpenny felt after missing a long-range kick which could have won the crucial second Test and the series for the tourists.
The Wallabies won 16-15 after Halfpenny missed a penalty shot in the final moments of the game — a mirror finish to the previous week’s first Test in Brisbane in which Beale failed to nail a goal which could have won the game for the Australians.
“Obviously I was in the same situation last week, and it’s a big kick; it’s a massive kick and there’s a lot of things going through your head,” Beale said.
“It’s a big ask but he’s been striking the ball well all series, I think he’s only missed two or three. We were just very lucky at the end.”
Beale missed his crucial kick in Brisbane as he slipped on the greasy surface. Lions coach Warren Gatland criticised his choice of moulded boots, saying it was part of a players’ job to turn up with the right footwear.
But Gatland was more forgiving of Halfpenny after he missed the half-way shot, but finished with five from seven.
“He’s disappointed with himself but he still kicked very well,” Gatland said.
Beale returned to the Wallabies after battling personal issues and being involved in several drink-related incidents. He said his final fluffed kick in the first Test, which saw the Lions win 23-21 the previous week, had been on his mind on Saturday.
“I had to keep upbeat and keep my body language up and I felt I did that,” he said. “It did affect me a little bit but in life you have to go forward and the same in rugby.
“Last night we had the chance to bounce back.”
Meanwhile Wallaby Christian Lealiifano, in only his second Test, took four from four on Saturday including the conversion from wide out to put the Wallabies ahead into the final dramatic minutes
“It was a massive occasion for me but I was just going through the same process that I do when I’m kicking at practice,” he said.
“It was just like kicking in the backyard with my nephews.”
The Wallabies face the Lions in the series decider in Sydney on July 6.