A slightly deflating way for Wales to bid adieu to the 2011 World Cup then, but it is time to look forward with relish.
Tom Fordyce has filed his match report from Eden Park
while Ben Dirs will be in the live text seat for Sunday's final where New Zealand, to borrow from Baddiel and Skinner, will attempt to end 24 years of hurt. Kick-off is 0900 BST. Goodbye.
Duncan via text on 81111:
"In the cold light of day, Wales leave with a 57% win rate and have failed to beat a single higher ranked team. Reality check please BBC."Duly applied Duncan. Important to note that Ireland had leapfrogged Wales on the back of their win over Australia before sliding back below Warren Gatland's side in the wake of the quarter-finals though.
John A, via text on 81111:
"As an Aussie, I wouldn't have minded Wales winning this game. They deserved more than they've ended up with. NZ v Wales would have been an interesting final!"
After each of Wales' three defeats in the tournament, the post-mortem has revolved around missed kicks. Every time Neil Jenkins, one-time Wales points machine now member of Gatland's backroom staff, trots on with the tee you have the feeling he would be a better bet than the player he hands it to. Who can fill the missing piece in that jigsaw?
Wales captain Gethin Jenkins:
"I'm proud of the way we finished, but we just came up short yet again. We have enjoyed the tournament and it is a shame we could not finish it off with a win. We knew how good Australia are. They competed well at the ruck area and perhaps we tried to play too much rugby. That cost us with the turnovers and the tries they scored. To get to the semi-finals was obviously a great achievement for this group of players. To come fourth is not as good as third, but it is a lot better than we have managed in previous World Cups.
Quade Cooper acknowledges the crowd's applause as he collects his medal and they responded with more decibels. Nice to see.
Jack Sadler, via text on 81111:
"Tremendous effort from Wales this whole world cup, put us English to shame! Sad that they've been knocked out but they can go home with their heads held high and not worry about sneaking out the back door of the airport."
Jon Garbett on Twitter:
"Feel a bit sorry for Wales, no shame in fourth at all but they should've been at least 2nd!! Robbed of a place in the final!"
Handshakes all round and in the middle of it all is the sad sight of Quade Cooper. The fly-half is on crutches, with his knee in a brace, swapping pleasantries with the Welsh players.
82 min: Wal 18-21 Aus
Thirty-odd phases of play and finally the rugby gods deem that Wales have done enough to earn their reward. Jones spins wide, Bradley Davies wisely decides Leigh Halfpenny
is better suited for the dash to the line and pops the ball to the winger who slides over. He ducks inside to improve the angle for the conversion and Jones
obliges with the extras. Referee Wayne Barnes calls time on the contest.
FULL-TIME: WALES 18-21 AUSTRALIA CONVERSION (JONES) WALES 18-21 AUSTRALIA TRY (HALFPENNY) WALES 16-21 AUSTRALIA 80 min: Wal 11-21 Aus
An arcing run from Williams briefly looks as if it will outstrip the Australian defence, but Pocock tracks him and snaffles the winger. Wales recycle and continue the push.
79 min: Wal 11-21 Aus
North attempts to wade through a gap with several Australian defenders hanging off him. Wales now looking for a score on the final phase to round off their campaign in style.
75 min: Wal 11-21 Aus
The Wales defence finally runs out of legs as replacement scrum-half Luke Burgess adds energy to the Australian attack. Number eight McCalman
picks and goes after his fellow forwards produces more quick, clean ball and it is a saunter over the whitewash from five metres out with no red shirts stationed on the blind side. O'Connor misses for the third time today with the conversion.
TRY (MCCALMAN) WALES 11-21 AUSTRALIA 74 min: Wal 11-16 Aus
Tremendous try-saver from George North as the Aussies sweep back downfield on the counter. O'Connor breaks and slings the ball to Adam Ashley-Cooper who is in the midst of a scoring dive as North gets across to dislodge the ball with a terrific tackle.
72 min: Wal 11-16 Aus
George North gets a run but is mobbed by Australian defenders before Jamie Roberts is turned over.
71 min: Wal 11-16 Aus
An assured penalty from Stephen Jones keep the Dragons within range. Exciting finale in prospect now. Scott Williams and Lloyd Burns are on for Wales.
PENALTY (JONES) WALES 11-16 AUSTRALIA 69 min: Wal 8-16 Aus
Stand-in fly-half Barnes
thumps a beauty of a drop-goal from well outside the Wales 22 and Gatland's men need more than a converted try now with a smidge over ten minutes to go.
DROP-GOAL (BARNES) WALES 8-16 AUSTRALIA 66 min: Wal 8-13 Aus
Leigh Halfpenny is penalised for hanging on as Pocock clamps onto him on the floor. O'Connor
attempts another monster penalty but the ball dies just short and the flags stay by the touch judges' sides.
64 min: Wal 8-13 Aus
A raft of changes from Warren Gatland as Ryan Bevington, Andy Powell and Lloyd Williams replace Paul James, Dan Lydiate and Mike Phillips. Let's see if that does the trick...
63 min: Wal 8-13 Aus
With the Australian barricades still firmly in place, Shane Williams
takes on a drop-goal attempt. It is high, hanging but well, well wide. Wales badly in need of some backline penetration.
62 min: Wal 8-13 Aus
Solid defence from Australia as Alexander wraps up Stephen Jones. No great territory gained despite a clutch of phases from Wales.
61 min: Wal 8-13 Aus
Wales build pressure as Bradley Davies rumbles round the fringes and up towards the Australia 22. Ben Alexander is on for Salesi Ma'afu in the Aussie front row.
59 min: Wal 8-13 Aus
Straight through the uprights from O'Connor
. Time to chance the arm for Gatland's boys?
PENALTY (O'CONNOR) WALES 8-13 AUSTRALIA 56 min: Wal 8-10 Aus
Prop Paul James fails to roll away quick enough and O'Connor has a relatively simple shot to extend the Aussie lead from the tee.
54 min: Wal 8-10 Aus
shows Wales how it is done with a long-range rasper to restore Australia's lead. Alun Wyn Jones replaces Luke Charteris in the Wales second row.
PENALTY (O'CONNOR) WALES 8-10 AUSTRALIA
49 min: Wal 8-7 Aus
Delightful footballing skills from Shane Williams
. Mike Phillips's clever kick through is gathered by Hook who slings a suspiciously forward-looking pass towards the little winger. Referee Wayne Barnes stays silent however and Williams controls the ball with his instep, nudges it over the line with a second touch and dives on top for his 58th international try. Hook misses the conversion and is promptly replaced by Stephen Jones.
TRY (WILLIAMS) WALES 8-7 AUSTRALIA 47 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
Rob Simmons replaces Sharpe in the second row as James Pocock has a bandage strapped round his head. In other news from the Aussie dressing room Quade Cooper has a torn cruciate knee ligament which means around six months on the sidelines.
45 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
Squandered. Hook contrives to miss the penalty from almost bang in front.
One of the lessons to re-learn from this World Cup has been the importance of a top-class goalkicker.
43 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
James Slipper is penalised for lying over a ruck and Hook has a very presentable chance to close the gap from the Australia 22.
42 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
O'Connor allows Halfpenny's booming kick downfield to slip through his grasp and then rather fluffs his own kick. It wobbles into touch as Wales enjoy the best of the early aerial ping-pong.
41 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
Berrick Barnes rifles a kick long, too long and Wales dot down over the own line. Hook smacks the 22 drop-out long to takle play up towards half-way.
Not quite the festival of running rugby we had been hoping for with both sets of physios kept busy tending to injured strike runners. I expect that there may be an end-of-term, caution-to-the-wind spirit to look forward to by the time the match gets in the final quarter however. The teams are re-emerging from the tunnel. Time to knuckle back down.
Graham Shearer on Twitter:
"Scrappy game. Wales's handling has been very poor and their set piece has been dodgy. They've been fortunate to only concede 7pts. #bbcrwc."
HALF-TIME WALES 3-7 AUSTRALIA 40 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
Jonathan Davies is confronted by a straggly-looking Australia defence as he advances over the half-way line. He opts to poke a grubber through for Shane Williams outside him but ball beats man as it bobbles out of play just as the Osprey is getting up to speed. And that is the last of the first-half action as Barnes points to the tunnel.
37 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
Plenty of heft on it, but Halfpenny's effort strays wide of the sticks.
36 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
A chance for Wales to pull back to within a point as Anthony Fainga'a sneaks in the side of a ruck and is spotted by referee Wayne Barnes. It is on the Australian ten-metre line so Wales call on Halfpenny's longer-range boot.
34 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
A pin-point touchfinder from Ashley-Cooper puts Wales down into their own 22 again, but Charteris and Bennett make the connection from the subsequent line-out to set up steady ball for the backs to clear. The line-out is faring a lot better than the scrum for Wales.
32 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
Mike Phillips pinches the ball from Radike Samo as the replacement Aussie goes into a tackle too upright. Claret and lots of it spilling from George North's head and the winger takes advantage of a break in play to go off for stitches. Stephen Jones is on in his place.
30 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
Wales grind downfield but O'Connor breaks clear before being hauled down within 10 metres of the Wales line. Ryan Jones stems the Aussie momentum as he turns the ball over in the shadow of his own posts.
29 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
O'Connor strikes the post and the ball is hoovered up by the Wales forwards as it bounces back into play.
28 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
Wales suffering at the set-piece again as Paul James, deputising at tighthead, is blown up by Barnes. O'Connor will take on this kick from the Wales ten-metre line, the angle is fairly straightforward.
26 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
The latest in a series of scrums goes south and referee Wayne Barnes pings Gethin Jenkins to give Australia a penalty well inside thier own half.
23 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
Barrick Barnes slots into fly-half as Anthony Fainga'a comes on for the Wallabies. Beale has already departed having aggravated his hamstring problem with Rob Horn on for Australia. Big re-jig for their backline already.
19 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
A sickener for Australia and the watching public as Cooper twangs his knee ligaments stepping off his right foot. The fly-half hobbles off and actually gets a sympathetic send-off from the Eden Park crowd.
17 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
Wales's Toby Faletau knocks on off the restart.
16 min: Wal 3-7 Aus
Australia prop James Slipper is guilty of a wonky engage at the scrum and Hook
opts to take the easy points from this visit to the Australia 22. Regulation stuff off the tee.
PENALTY (HOOK) WALES 3-7 AUSTRALIA 15 min: Wal 0-7 Aus
Wales sense a gap down the left flank and series of snappy passes send the ball winging to Halfpenny via Jonathan Davies. Shane Williams is the man over, but he has already cut inside as Halfpenny offloads straight into touch and the hands of touch judge Roman Poite.
10 min: Wal 0-7 Aus
A delicious delayed pass from Cooper allows Berrick Barnes
to split Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies in the Wales midfield and scamper over. James O'Connor
clips over the conversion.
CONVERSION WALES 0-7 AUSTRALIA 8 min: Wal 0-0 Aus
Cooper's grubber kick into the corner gives O'Connor every chance, Williams cleans up but is absolutely clattered by two Wallaby forwards as he kicks to touch.
6 min: Wal 0-0 Aus
Shane Williams concedes the penalty to allow Australia to press forward. Only a last-ditch tackle from Charteris denies O'Connor as he takes the ball flat off Cooper's inside shoulder. The Welsh defence is penalised, Australia tap and go but Cooper's pass is at Ashley-Cooper's knees and the centre knocks off to relieve the pressure.
5 min: Wal 0-0 Aus
Nathan Sharpe tweaks a calf as he takes the lineout throw, but is up and hobbling for the moment. Chateris secures Bennett's throw-in for Wales before Roberts gets his first run on the Australia midfield and leaves the green and gold line dented but unbroken.
3 min: Wal 0-0 Aus
Hook booms a kick downfield and James O'Connor gathers. Cooper goes on a stuttering run as the boos ring down from the stands. Faletau scrags Beale as he chases up and Lydiate forces the turnover. Jonathan Davies boots long up to the Aussie 22.
1 min: Wal 0-0 Aus
James Hook gets us under way as Sharpe collects for Australia. Scott Higginbotham hits the ball up before Berick Barnes dribbles a kick up to the Wales 22-metre line.
phasesofplay on Twitter:
"Right, I'm in my #WAL shirt, I'm wearing a red 'snood'. I thought about listening to Simply Red, but it's only 3rd place playoff! #BBCRWC"
Anthems done and dusted. Our referee for this morning is England's Wayne Barnes.
Australian second row Nathan Sharpe leads the two teams out as he collects his 100th cap. The Wallabies have won five of their last six matches against Wales.
So those line-ups in full for you: Wales:
L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); G North (Scarlets), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Ospreys); J Hook (Perpignan), M Phillips (Bayonne); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues, capt), H Bennett (Ospreys), P James (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Jones (Ospreys).Australia:
Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs); James O'Connor (Western Force), Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies), Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs), Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds); Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds), Will Genia (Queensland Reds); James Slipper (Queensland Reds), Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs), Salesi Ma'afu (Brumbies), James Horwill (Queensland Reds, capt), Nathan Sharpe (Western Force), Scott Higginbotham (Queensland Reds), David Pocock (Western Force), Ben McCalman (Western Force).
The Queen is in town for the game and has already pressed flesh with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. No sign of a curtsy.
Also in the green and gold corner is Quade Cooper who will be keen to make an impression after an underwhelming tournament. The Queensland Red
revealed on Twitter
that he will be sporting a pair of boots, in fancydan white of course, signed by former All Black Jonah Lomu after the legendary winger dropped in on one of the team's training sessions this week.
Wales will be without skipper Sam Warburton after the IRB backed up referee Alain Rolland's dismissal against France with
a three-week ban for the flanker.
So the chance to see him battle the maurading David Pocock is gone, but keep an eye on two swashbuckling sets of back threes with Kurtley Beale fit again for the Wallabies.
Their campaign may have made for compelling viewing, but a casual glance at the results would suggest Wales have done little more than what is expected of them. They are still yet to beat a team who were placed higher than then in the
IRB's world rankings
at the start of the tournament. So would defeat here leave a slightly sour taste? Or is that just downright unreasonable after coming so close to a first final? Text me from he UK on 81111 and tweet me from anywhere via hashtag
Kick-off in this 21st century version is 0830 BST. For all the excitement of their run to the last four, Wales will want to avoid being on the wrong end of the scoreboard for a third time in the tournament when the final whistle blows around 90 minutes later.
There is a bit of history to spice up this contest though. The last time the tournament was held in New Zealand 24 years ago, the semi-finals shook down in exactly the same way. Before the All Blacks rolled the French in the final,
a Paul Thorburn conversion upset the likes of Michael Lynagh and David Campese
as an Australia side that was to become world champions in 1991 were beaten 22-21.
Sunday's final is
a single-point semi-final defeat
and a few hundred 'what-ifs' away for Warren Gatland's side. Instead they take on Tri-Nations champions Australia in Eden Park to decide who gets the, rather meagre, consolation of third place.
Morning all and it is an earlier one than Welsh fans will have wanted. Forty-eight hours too early to be precise.