WALES' long wait for a win Down Under goes on after Australia triumphed 27-19 in the first Test in Brisbane.
The Grand Slam winners went into the clash at the Suncorp Stadium hopeful of securing their first win on Australian soil since 1969 and emulating Scotland's midweek win against the Wallabies.
But their hosts, inspired by scrum-half Will Genia, proved too clinical and Wales were left to regret a lacklustre first half and a golden opportunity missed.
They didn't match the tackling standards that they set in the Six Nations, kicked poorly and lacked accuracy in attack.
The Wallabies led 10-3 at the break thanks to a try by impressive back row forward Scott Higginbotham and five points from the boot of fly-half Berrick Barnes.
Genia, with his feet even faster than his sensational rugby brain, had controlled the first 40 minutes then scored a stunning solo score quickly after the restart.
The number nine dashed past Ken Owens and Gethin Jenkins before leaving full-back James Hook grasping at thin air.
It looked game over when a drop goal by Barnes, who produced an accomplished performance, made it 20-6.
But Wales came firing back and it looked like their fresher legs would count in the last quarter.
They reduced the deficit to a point thanks to the unerring boot of Halfpenny and a try by wing Alex Cuthbert, their star performer, following a marvellous offload by debutant Ashley Beck.
However, the ruthless Wallabies settled home nerves when centre Pat McCabe cut a terrific angle to go under the posts.
Wales, who saw George North and Scott Williams go off injured, don't have long to mull over an incredibly disappointing defeat – they face the Brumbies on Tuesday before they try to keep the three-Test series alive in Melbourne next Saturday.