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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 May 2007, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Australia v Wales as it happened
ALLTHE ACTION (ALL TIMES BST)

By Ben Dirs

80 mins: CONVERSION Australia 29-23 Wales Mortlock kicks the extras and the relief is palpable in Sydney. No second win down under for Wales, but it was a stirring effort what with 18 of their best players resting up back home.

80 mins: TRY Australia 27-23 Wales Extraordinary finish from the Wallabies, the Welsh defence stretched back and forth and replacement Hoiles diving over in the right-hand corner with the hooter already sounded. Heart-breaking for Wales, you have to say they deserved to win that.

79 mins: Cooper slices his clearance and the Aussies still have a chance.

77 mins: Henson shows good upper-body strength, shrugging off a couple of tackles, before Charvis puts in a massive hit, the ball popping out of Robinson's grasp like a chocolate bar from a vending machine.

75 mins: Cooper is on for Phillips at scrum-half for Wales. Australia aren't dealing well with this late pressure, and another knock-on from Sharpe hands the initiative back to Wales.

73 mins: Henson, who has looked sharp in attack, misses a tackle as Australia crank up the pressure. Mortlock is hit and hit hard by Owen - that must have been like being struck by a Land Rover - and Wales win a penalty and clear their lines.

71 mins: DROP-GOAL Australia 22-23 Wales Stinker from Gerrard, shaping to clear his lines only for the ball to brush his thigh and bobble forward. Wales have the scrum in front of the Australia posts and Hook gives Wales back the lead, sticking his drop-goal attempt between the posts. All the time in the world for Hook, he could have pulled out a cigarette, lit it and taken a couple of tugs before striking that.

68 mins: Huxley clears his lines but Byrne rifles it back beyond the Australia 10-metre line. Henson, on for Robinson, shows some class, flipping the ball out of the tackle without looking. Henson could be called upon to have a punt from range in the final 10 minutes.

66 mins: Gregan is on at scrum-half. Giteau, to be fair, was one of the few Aussie players who was having a decent game, but he's been shifted out to centre. The crowd, however, hail their little general.

64 mins: Choker for Hook and Wales, the fly-half pushing his kick from slap, bang in front of the posts and hitting the right-hand upright. That's a big let-off for Australia, and it could prove costly at the final reckoning.

63 mins: Wales have a chance to regain the laid, Shepherdson finding himself isolated and holding onto the ball.

61 mins: PENALTY Australia 22-20 Wales Australia take the lead for the first time, Mortlock slotting the three-pointer from the right-hand side. Time for Wales to take a collective deep breath and dig very deep.

60 mins: Good hands in midfield from Australia and Chisholm clatters through a couple of tackles. Bit of a high tackle from Byrne, and a buzz goes up around Telstra Stadium as George Gregan is shown on the big screen - looks like he's coming on. And that's a penalty for Australia.

59 mins: The Wallabies nick line-out ball and Wales are looking a little ragged now. Smith and Charvis involved with a little bit of afters, Charvis coming off second best.

58 mins: A chance for Wales to have a blow and clear their lines as Australia cough up the ball in attack. Hook finds touch and Wales can regroup.

55 mins: CONVERSION Australia 19-20 Wales Mortlock slots the extras and the hosts are back within one point of Wales.

54 mins: TRY Australia 17-20 Wales Wales think they've turned it over, but Giteau, scrapping like a wildcat, stretches out and regains possession. And Giteau it is with the try, selling the dummy on the blind-side and waltzing over under the posts. The Aussies back within three points, more than a hint of obstruction there, Gareth Thomas looked to be held.

52 mins: PENALTY Australia 12-20 Wales Hook blocks out the uncharitable Aussie boos and cat-calls and slots the three-pointer from the left touchline. The tourists are in full control in Sydney.

50 mins: Gareth Thomas is held up short of the try-line and Wales are unable to break through in the left-hand corner. However, the visitors earn a penalty and Hook will have the chance for a three-pointer.

47 mins: Owen sticks Phillips into the hole with an off-load and the Wales scrum-half breaks a tackle on the fringes of the ruck. Schoolboy error from Huxley, fielding a Wales clearance with his feet in touch. Not much better from the Aussies after the restart, Wales applying all the pressure.

44 mins: Giteau thinks he's through, but the referee, quite rightly, rules there was crossing in mid-field, Shepherdson with an American Football-style block on Charvis. Wales have a penalty - but Hook, from just inside his own half, is short with his attempt.

42 mins: Charvis piles over the gain line and Wales string some phases together before Hook slices through the Aussie mid-field...but passes forward in the tackle.

1201: Players are out for the second half and this could be explosive. Hook with the kick-off and Chisholm takes well.

1151: HALF-TIME Australia 12-17 Wales There's the whistle and that was a pulsating first half, if lacking in a great deal of quality. Wales coach Gareth Jenkins will be happy with the lead, but the suspicion is the Aussies will come out steaming after the break - as I write, Wallabies coach John Connolly will be inserting rockets where it hurts.

1148: Phillips cuts through the Aussie defence, shovels it out to Hook and the Wales fly-half finds Czekaj on the left wing. The Blues player, however, is hauled down and Huxley it is with a tremendous clearance to ease the pressure.

1147: Not much precision from the Aussies and second-row Chisholm shells a perfectly good pass in mid-field before letting out a blood-curdling roar.

1144: A few phases from Wales, but Phillips' pass is spilled by Gareth Thomas coming off his wing and looking for a cutting edge. Owen is on for Wales and slots into the second row instead of Cockbain.

1141: CONVERSION Australia 12-17 Wales Mortlock finds his kicking boots and the Wallabies are just five points behind now.

1139: TRY Australia 10-17 Wales Mortlock keeps it in hands and it's Mitchell with the grubber. Byrne fields and runs the ball out of play a couple of metres out. Good ball from the line-out and Sharpe barrells through the weak tackle of Sidoli and touches down.

1138: Gareth Thomas is back out and off trots Henson after his five-minute cameo.

1132: Shocking conversion attempt from Mortlock, pushing it well wide from the right-hand touchline. Charlotte Church's boyfriend is on for Gareth Thomas - the Wales skipper is getting a stitch-up.

1130: TRY Australia 5-17 Wales Palu tucks his chin in and drives over in the right-hand corner. Looks like a nailed-on try to me, but the referee goes upstairs...and it is, indeed, five points. The comeback starts here?

1127: PENALTY Australia 0-17 Wales Hook sticks over the three points and Wales are bang on target for their first win against the Wallabies in Australia since Sydney 1969. Long way to go yet, and, as we all know, when the fat lady's singing, the Aussies will still be swinging...

1125: Full-back Byrne scythes through the Australia mid-field - it was Jonathan Thomas with the cheeky pass - and Gerrard just manages to haul him down before the whitewash. It's another penalty for Wales, however...

1123: CONVERSION Australia 0-14 Wales Easy extras from Hook from right beneath the posts and that Courier-Mail headline writer will be rustling around in the medicine cabinet now...

1122: TRY Australia 0-12 Wales Another try for Wales, Huxley attempting the long pass in midfield and Robinson intercepting and running in from 70 metres out. The tackle from Charvis was all-important on Huxley, the Welsh are brimming.

1121: Mortlock spills the ball in the tackle and Wales will look to clear their lines fom the resulting scrum. Five handling errors from the Wallabies so far - very un-Australian.

1118: Palu breaks the tackle of Gareth Thomas before Mortlock makes the half-break 10 metres from the Welsh line, but there is no-one on his shoulder and the Wales defence does well to snuff out the attack.

1114: Very sketchy start from the Wallabies and it's Norton-Knight, their debutant fly-half, with a loose pass in midfield. Good carry from Giteau, however, and Australia string a few phases together.

1112: Penalty for Australia but Mortlock strikes the upright from 40 metres. Charvis fields and tidies up from beneath the posts.

1109: CONVERSION Australia 0-7 Wales Hook slots the extras and the headline writer from the Brisbane Courier-Mail will be choking on his Tooheys.

1107: TRY Australia 0-5 Wales It's Huxley, on debut, with the kick-off and Australia split it. Wales send the long kick back and Huxley, showing some early nerves, sends a wild pass out. And what a start from Wales, Czekaj breaking out of defence, chipping on for Hook and the Ospreys fly-half shovelling the ball to Gareth Thomas to pile over. Gareth Thomas, on his record-breaking 93rd cap, was almost turned in the tackle, but showed good strength to touch the ball down.

1104: And here's Advance Australia Fair, and it's a pretty insipid version to be honest. Not a great deal of passion on display, although the singer was an extremely handsome woman.

1102: Here's Land of Our Fathers and it sounds like someone's banging it out on a Bontempi organ. The Welsh players all looked pretty laid-back singing that. How come it looks like the whole side has rabies before they play England?

1059: "Beached Wales Stink!" screamed the Brisbane Courier-Mail today. Just for that, I want Wales to stuff them. The Welsh players are out and there's not much of a crowd in at the Telstra Stadium. And here come the Aussies...

1056: The Aussie sides weren't much cop in this season's Super 14s - ACT Brumbies were their top side, finishing fifth. Western Force were down in seventh, whle the Waratahs and Reds were 13th and 14th respectively. Mind you, the Welsh sides didn't exactly cover themselves in glory in the Heineken Cup, Llanelli Scarlets excepted.

1046: George Gregan is on the bench for the Wallabies and Matt Giteau will start at scrum-half. Sam Norton-Knight (fly-half) and Julian Huxley (full-back) debut for the Aussies. The man to my left says "Australia by seven". But then, he's Welsh. I reckon the Wallabies by 25.

1041: Morning all. To the Telstra Stadium in Sydney - and this one's tricky to call. Wales have left a stack of first-team players at home, but Australia look pretty strong and should start favourites. Gareth Thomas will set a new record for caps for Wales - 93 - while Colin Charvis returns to the back-row.


Australia: Julian Huxley (ACT); Mark Gerrard (ACT), Stirling Mortlock (ACT), Adam Ashley-Cooper (ACT), Drew Mitchell (WF); Sam Norton-Knight (NSW), Matt Giteau (WF); Matt Dunning (NSW), Stephen Moore (QLD), Guy Shepherdson (ACT), Nathan Sharpe (WF), Mark Chisholm (ACT), Rocky Elsom (NSW), Phil Waugh (NSW, capt), Wycliff Palu (NSW).
Replacements: Adam Freier (NSW), Benn Robinson (NSW), Dan Vickerman (NSW), Stephen Hoiles (ACT), George Smith (ACT), George Gregan (ACT), Scott Staniforth (WF).

Wales: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Gareth Thomas (Blues, capt), Jamie Robinson (Blues), Sonny Parker (Ospreys), Chris Czekaj (Blues); James Hook (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Iestyn Thomas (Scarlets), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Brent Cockbain (Ospreys), Robert Sidoli (Blues), Colin Charvis (Dragons), Gavin Thomas (Scarlets), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys).
Replacements: Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Ceri Jones (Harlequins), Michael Owen (Dragons), Scott Morgan (Blues), Gareth Cooper (Gloucester), Ceri Sweeney (Dragons), Gavin Henson (Ospreys).

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (SA).



SEE ALSO
Australia v Wales photos
26 May 07 |  Rugby Union
Live: Australia v Wales
02 Sep 05 |  Football


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