The Wallabies have saved coach Dave Rennie, but they might have put Wales head coach Wayne Pivac’s head on the chopping block.
Australia mounted a miraculous comeback after trailing by 21 points with 22 minutes to play to pull off a memorable 39-34 victory on Sunday morning.
The morale-sapping defeat against an Australia side that were missing key players like the injured Michael Hooper and fly-half Bernard Foley could well have been Pivac’s 34th and final Test in charge.
Two tries by Australia’s 22-year-old wing and man of the match Mark Nawaqanitawase sparked the comeback which ended a three-match losing run on the tour including a historic defeat to Italy.
Rennie said after the win it was about time his side got the better of a narrow scoreline.
The Aussies had gone down to both France and Italy by a point and then just three points at the hands of the world’s top-ranked team Ireland last week. They began the tour with a one-point win over Scotland.
For the 58-year-old, victory also saw them avoid what would have been their worst set of results in a calendar year since 1958. However, it was still only their fifth win in 14 Tests.
“I guess we could have lost all five (autumn Tests) or won all five, that’s the sort of tour it’s been,” Rennie said.
“It was good to win a tight one. We would have liked to have closed it out, unfortunately we gave away a penalty and gave them one more crack.
“We have got some learning to do, but this will help.”
Rennie went on to say the team was “stoked” to finish the tour with a win.
“It was a game around momentum,” he said.
“They got it early, pressure resulted in a couple of cards.
“I thought we got fantastic impact off the bench, who we went to early, and we had all the momentum late in the game and applied the pressure there.
“Huge amount of ticker in this group, and we had a number of guys who played in the Italy game who had a chance at redemption – there were a number of young guys who really fronted today.
“We’re stoked. It’s a nice way to finish off.”
It was very different in the other dressing room.
With less than a year to go to the World Cup in France, Pivac may hope it is too late to change things at the top — his most likely successor, former Wales boss Warren Gatland told Amazon Prime prior to the match he had not been approached about a return.
Pivac could point to the fact that Wales still held a comfortable lead on Saturday when captain Justin Tipuric was sin-binned for a cynical trip on Pete Samu.
He was then joined by replacement hooker Ryan Elias who cost the hosts a penalty try which left Wales 34-32 up with less than seven minutes remaining.
“I thought we built the game nicely and got in a situation where we should have won the game,” Pivac told Amazon Prime.
“Clearly we took advantage of their indiscipline and then when the roles were reversed, they did the same to us.
“We can’t fault the effort that the boys put in. We talked after last week we wanted more physicality and we wanted to go out there and express ourselves.
“I thought for large parts we did that, we just weren’t able to bring it home.”