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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 September 2007, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Wales v Australia as it happened

Result: Wales 20-32 Australia


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By Phil Harlow


1552: "There is hope I guess - if Wales can fine-tune and play a full 80 minutes in the next two games then they could pull off a shock and get to the semis, just maybe..."
MD on 606

80 mins: The final whistle goes and Wales have lost the key match of their pool stage, setting themselves up for a likely quarter-final with South Africa.

It was a mixed bag from Wales: totally outplayed in the first half, they showed some good fighting spirit after the break to give Australia something to think about. Still, the Wallabies always had something in reserve and can reflect on a job well done, especially with key player Stephen Larkham out injured.

78 mins: Wales are showing real ambition and playing with some, dare I say it, 2005-esque abandon, with Shane Williams igniting their backline once again.

He darts down the line and releases Tom Shanklin and then the passes come in thick and fast from all angles. It provides some reason for optimism going into the rest of the tournament.

75 mins: TRY Wales 20-32 Australia
With a two-man advantage Wales have to score and they do.

The ball goes out to the right flank where Matt Giteau tries to intercept. He gets hands to it but knocks on and Wales play on, releasing Shane Williams to score in the corner.

James Hook guides the ball between the posts with the conversion.

73 mins: SIN-BIN Wales are finally finding some flow and rhythm with Shane Williams providing the catalyst and replacement Michael Owen also showing up well.

They get a penalty and see Colin Charvis get inches away from touching down. But referee Steve Walsh goes back for an earlier offence and yellow cards Nathan Sharpe for a professional foul as he lies on the wrong side.

71 mins: A tremendous clearing kick from Chris Latham makes 60m for Australia who are dealing with the yellow card in exemplary fashion.

68 mins: Dwayne Peel snaffles the ball off George Gregan at the base of the scrum and Wales attack through Stephen Jones.

Despite having a man advantage though, Wales are struggling to break Australia down as they suffocate the home side in midfield.

65 mins: SIN-BIN
Australia are down to 14 men as winger Drew Mitchell gets a yellow card for a spear tackle on Matthew Rees.

It's a little on the harsh side, especially as neither Chris Latham or Gareth Thomas went off for worse challenges. Mitchell does lift Rees into the air but he pulls out of the tackle and does not slam the hooker into the ground.

Still, a little chink of light for Wales.

62 mins: Australia are going up a gear, with some glorious hands from Wycliff Palu releasing Drew Mitchell down the left flank.

Mitchell fends off Shane Williams but a brave tackle from Kevin Morgan stops him in his tracks and he spills the ball for Williams to clear up.

59 mins: TRY Wales 13-32 Australia
A pivotal moment as Wales' hopes of a comeback are dealt a fatal blow.

Chris Latham sends up a steepling up-and-under which Stephen Jones misjudges. Jones gets a couple of paces too far forward and spills the ball which bounces perfectly for Latham to score on the charge.

Matt Giteau gets his first points with the boot as he kicks the conversion. By the way, that's a bonus point for Australia as they notch up their fourth try of the match.

56 mins: Things are going Wales' way now as they win a penalty on halfway for another Australia offence at the scrum.

It is right on the limit of James Hook's range and his penalty attempt is on target but just short of the posts.

52 mins: PEN Wales 13-25 Australia Could Wales be on the verge of something special here? They win a penalty at the scrum and Stephen Jones, captain in Gareth Thomas's absence, hands the ball to James Hook to slot it between the posts.

50 mins: Australia lose the ball in Wales' 22 and Kevin Morgan spots that Chris Latham is well out of position and punts the ball forward.

Latham cynically takes Morgan out, but referee Steve Walsh decides not to sin-bin the full-back. He is a lucky boy.

46 mins: Just what Wales didn't want as Dwayne Peel's clearing kick is charged down by Nathan Sharpe to put his side under pressure in their 22.

Australia almost score out wide, but referee Steve Walsh comes back for a penalty for offside. Luckily for Wales, Matt Giteau gets a horrible contact with his effort and slices the ball well wide.

44 mins: TRY Wales 10-25 Australia
Wales finally get a try to their names and it is through some good old-fashioned forward play.

They set up camp in Australia's 22 and go ever closer through a series of drives before number eight Jonathan Thomas squeezes over. James Hook kicks the conversion.

42 mins: Wales kick off and there is some enterprising run from Shane Williams on the right wing as he beats two players before releasing the ball.

The home side actually have an overlap but they are almost England-like in their ability to butcher it. Several players take and give passes running on the diagonal and committing nobody.

The ball eventually gets to Mark Jones on the left flank. He has about six inches of space to work in and is unsurprisingly bundled into touch.

1455: "It was obvious from the opening minutes that Wales thought they could intimidate the Aussies with some hard physical play.

"Talk about a plan backfiring. Careful what you wish for Wales."
PT on 606

1452: "It seems increasingly likely to me that there might be not a single European team in the semi-finals."
LABF on 606

40 mins: TRY Wales 3-25 Australia
Australia cut loose on the stroke of half-time with a thrilling try which gives Wales the steepest of mountains to climb.

They wheel the scrum to put Wycliff Palu on the charge and a long pass from Matt Giteau puts Drew Mitchell into space. He cuts inside and finds Chris Latham on his shoulder to dive over in the corner. Wales have got no answer at the moment.

Stirling Mortlock curls in the touchline conversion to end the half.

37 mins: Wales are trying to force it and it isn't working so far. James Hook fires out a wide pass from second receiver but it's to no-one in particular, going over Kevin Morgan's head and bouncing past Mark Jones into touch.

34 mins: TRY Wales 3-18 Australia
A clinical try from Australia may have already put this match beyond Wales. Wales try to attack from deep but Mark Jones spills the ball and oversized prop Matt Dunning scoops it up in an instant and then releases George Gregan.

The veteran scrum-half takes it on down the blind-side before putting in a delightful chip which Stirling Mortlock, under pressure from Jones and Kevin Morgan, collects and slides over.

Mortlock seems to have picked up a knock in the act of scoring so Matt Giteau takes the touchline conversion, but misses.

32 mins: Wales win a penalty after Stephen Moore gets himself offside at the breakdown. But Stephen Jones gets the direction of his kick wrong and the sighs of the crowd say it all.

29 mins: George Smith is dominating the breakdown and forcing Wales to concede numerous penalties for clinging on. The home team need to get to the Australia open-side in a hurry.

27 mins: A let-off for Wales as Stirling Mortlock pushes his penalty attempt from 30m out wide of the posts. Wales need something to spark them off at the moment; they are very much second best as it stands.

25 mins: Australia's midfield defence is simply eating Wales alive at the moment. Stirling Mortlock is all over his opposite numbers and Wales are going backwards at a rate of knots.

23 mins: DROP-GOAL Wales 3-13 Australia
Australia look in total control at the moment and they go further ahead with a drop-goal from Berrick Barnes who is really catching the eye on his first Test start.

22 mins: As it turns out, Gareth Thomas has to go off. Some might say there was a little bit of poetic justice there.

Anyway, we do get James Hook into the fray but it's not the start Wales wanted with two changes in the backline inside 20 minutes and their captain off the field.

21 mins: Gareth Thomas gets a bit of a taste of his own medicine as Stirling Mortlock goes in very hard as he takes and gives the ball. There was more than a little bit of revenge in that challenge.

18 mins: Sonny Parker is carried off on a stretcher, and Wales call for Kevin Morgan - rather than James Hook - off the bench. He goes in at full-back with Gareth Thomas moving up to the centres.

15 mins: TRY Wales 3-10 Australia
A superb try from Australia as Berrick Barnes glides through a gap, draws the last man before sending Matt Giteau in under the posts.

Gareth Thomas, the last man for Wales, puts his shoulder into Barnes in a cynical and nasty foul which does him no credit. Australia are not amused at the treatment handed out to their young fly-half and it sparks another flare-up.

Thomas is lucky to escape with a severe warning as Stirling Mortlock kicks the conversion.

13 mins: Both sides are struggling to keep hold of the ball for sustained periods, with the turnovers flowing from both sides.

Alix Popham, on as a blood replacement, puts in a massive hit on Rocky Elsom to lift the crowd in Cardiff. Elsom has to slightly stop to take a tricky pass and Popham knocks him on his backside in no uncertain terms.

11 mins: Australia concede another penalty as Stirling Mortlock puts his hands all over the ball when off his feet in the ruck.

But from about 35m out and to the right of the posts, Stephen Jones misses with his penalty attempt to keep the scores level.

9 mins: A cheap shot from Australia hooker Stephen Moore as he barges into Shane Williams who is already tackled into touch and on the floor. The Welsh winger doesn't take too kindly to it, and there's a brief altercation before the referee regains control.

7 mins: PEN Wales 3-3 Australia
A good response from Wales as they come out of Australia's 22 with points from Stephen Jones's boot after the Wallabies infringe at the line-out.

The Wales fly-half kicks it with aplomb to settle his side's nerves.

4 mins: Some worrying signs for Wales as their first line-out goes awry. they get the chance to attack though as they receive a free-kick at the subsequent scrum.

Martyn Williams kicks ahead and there is a much less clearance from Berrick Barnes. Gareth Thomas kicks it back and Australia's Drew Mitchell is like Bambi on ice-skates as he slips all over the place trying to field it. What studs as he got on?

Mitchell's clearance only makes 10m and Wales have a great attacking position.

2 mins: A great first touch for young fly-half Berrick Barnes, making his first ever Test start, as he clears to halfway from his own 22. He will be a key performer in Cardiff, and Wales will be desperate to get to him.

1 min: PEN Wales 0-3 Australia
Australia kick off and it's a disastrous start for Wales as they concede a penalty almost in front of the posts after just 10 seconds after they go off their feet at the breakdown.

Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock has no trouble whatsoever in giving his side the earliest of leads.

1358: The roof is on at the Millennium Stadium, and the noise of the anthems is a real hair on the back of the neck job.

1355: The teams take to the pitch at a sell-out Millennium Stadium. The atmosphere promises to be awesome at the home of Welsh rugby.

Australia fly-half Stephen Larkham has been ruled out of Saturday's Pool B showdown with Wales with a knee injury.

The 33-year-old, who has won 102 caps, twisted his knee in kicking training on Friday and has failed to recover in time for the Millennium Stadium clash.

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