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'Devastating' defeat completes whitewash for Wales

Mike Phillips required just one word to sum up the Welsh response to a third successive Australian smash-and-grab raid – devastation.

World Cup semi-finalists last year and the reigning RBS 6 Nation champions, Wales suffered their first four-Test autumn whitewash after Kurtley Beale's try 26 seconds from time gave the Wallabies a dramatic 14-12 success.

Four penalties by Leigh Halfpenny – he was carried off and taken to hospital for neck scans following some last-ditch defensive work – gave Wales every chance of ending a demoralising losing run.

But that sequence has now stretched to seven Tests, and eight games with Australia having won their last three encounters by a combined total of just five points and contributing to an alarming statistic of 20 defeats from 21 games against the Wallabies, New Zealand and South Africa since Warren Gatland became head coach five years ago.

"It was a game we were in control of and it's very difficult to talk about," Wales scrum-half Phillips said. "To lose again in the last minute like that, it's devastation. We would rather lose by 50 points, I think.

"But we have got to take it on the chin. We played some outstanding rugby, some of the best we have played this autumn and Australia never threatened our line until the last 30 seconds, which makes it all the more difficult to take."

If victory over the Barbarians six months ago is discounted, Wales have not won a Test match since they clinched the Six Nations title and Grand Slam by beating France in Cardiff on March 17. Defence of their crown begins there, against Ireland, in nine weeks.

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