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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 May 2007, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Thomas praises Wales after loss
Wallaby substitute Stephen Hoiles scores the match-winning try
Sonny Parker fails to stop Stephen Hoiles scoring the winning try
Dejected Wales skipper Gareth Thomas refused to criticise his side despite their heartbreaking last-minute 29-23 defeat at the hands of Australia.

"I can't say anything negative," said Thomas. "We came here very much under-rated but it was a great game.

"Australia stuck it together for the 80 minutes, we had just one lapse in defence and they won.

"We believe in ourselves. Australia starved us of ball in the first half but we came back into it."

The late try denied Thomas a dream victory on a day when he became Wales' most-capped player with 93 caps.

There was some rustiness in the first half, some simple mistakes, and we dropped a lot of balls

Australia skipper Phil Waugh

After the final whistle, Thomas ran over to give his shirt to Australia attack coach Scott Johnson, who was Wales' skills coach from 2001 until last year.

"It is a memorable day for me and I probably would not have been around if it was not for Scott," added Thomas.

"He has given me a lot of inspiration. He has been a shining light for me and if anyone deserves the shirt, he does."

Australia skipper Phil Waugh admitted that there was a "feeling of relief" after the game.

"The guys hung in there after a slow start and we did reasonably well," he said. "We knew it was going to be tough.

"We had a huge amount of possession in the first half but tries turn games and to get to half-time five points down was a good effort after the Welsh tries.

"There was some rustiness in the first half, some simple mistakes, and we dropped a lot of balls. Hopefully we can work on that and a win by a bit more in the second Test in Brisbane."

Wallabies coach John Connolly feels that the nature of the win will be a big benefit to his side.

"Digging ourselves out a hole like that will give this team a lot of confidence," said Connolly.

"We made a lot of mistakes and helped their cause a lot, but it's never easy to come back from 17-0 down so I was proud of them."

Connolly's Wales counterpart Gareth Jenkins added: "Of course we're disappointed we didn't win but at the end of the day we showed we were competitive.

"We were ridiculed with the team we brought here but were justified in doing that."

SEE ALSO
Australia 29-23 Wales
26 May 07 |  Welsh
Australia v Wales photos
26 May 07 |  Rugby Union


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