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Wales 12-33 Australia

Wales (12) 12
Pens: Halfpenny, S Jones (3)
Australia (23) 33
Tries: Ioane, Horwill, Pocock, Polota-Nau Cons: Giteau (2) Pens: Giteau (3)

Wales v Australia

Highlights - Wales 12-33 Australia

Australia ended their autumn tour on a high with a crushing victory over Wales at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Digby Ioane, James Horwill and the outstanding David Pocock crossed inside 25 minutes as the Wallabies' attacking promise at last came to fruition.

Wales suffered early injuries to Shane Williams, Leigh Halfpenny and Matthew Rees, but Leigh Halfpenny and Stephen Jones held it to 23-12 at half-time.

Tatafu Polota-Nau's try ended any hopes of a comeback for the shattered hosts.

The defeat was the biggest home reversal for coach Warren Gatland in his two years in charge and the second heaviest in all of his 22 Tests with Wales.

The victory will ease pressure on his opposite number Robbie Deans, who has come under heavy criticism after a disappointing season.

A devastated Shane Williams is led off after just five minutes
A devastated Shane Williams is led off after just five minutes of the game

In Matt Giteau, Ioane and Will Genia, Australia possessed the game's most creative players, with Giteau bouncing back admirably from his Murrayfield torment last Saturday when a missed injury-time conversion meant Scotland beat the Wallabies 9-8.

The result was never in doubt following Australia's initial scoring blitz, and a 74,339 crowd was stunned into relative silence for long periods.

The manner of Australia's win will send shock waves reverberating through the Wales camp.

Currently sixth in the official world rankings, they had backed themselves to end their autumn series by claiming the Wallabies' scalp for a second successive season.

But all the performance served in doing was providing Gatland with graphic evidence that Wales have a huge amount of hard work ahead if they are to be serious World Cup challengers in 2011.

Having lost skipper Ryan Jones on the eve of the game with a back injury, Wales desperately needed a solid start to help restore some morale.

But tight-head prop Paul James was penalised at the first scrum, allowing Matt Giteau to immediately atone for his failure the previous weekend against Scotland by giving his side the opening points from half-way.


Ironically the scrum at which James was penalised took place only because Giteau scuffed his kick-off into touch, but that was a rare off-kilter moment for the Wallabies.

After that, the visitors' response to the disappointment of that loss to Scotland was simply outstanding. They attacked with poise, pace and purpose at almost every opportunity and Wales struggled to pose any sustained threat until midway through the second period.

By the time man-of-the-match Giteau placed a pinpoint kick for Ioane to gather and score at the corner, Gatland's men had their hands full containing their opponents.

To make matters worse, the hosts lost attacking talisman Shane Williams after five minutes with a hamstring strain and Dwayne Peel soon departed with a blood injury for Martin Roberts to stand in.

Wing Leigh Halfpenny kicked Wales' first points in Peel's absence, but when props Benn Robinson and Ben Alexander combined to send lock James Horwill over at the corner Wales were in deep trouble.

Fly-half Jones struck back when Wycliff Palu was penalised for gathering the restart in an offside position after Drew Mitchell's knock-on.

But Pocock finished off another Wallaby surge with a try confirmed by video ref Geoff Warren and this time Giteau succeeded with the simple conversion.

David Pocock crosses for Australia's third try
The outstanding David Pocock crosses for Australia's third try

Wales were not helped when forced into a back division reshuffle as wing Halfpenny departed after 28 minutes, Bishop coming into the centre and Jonathan Davies switching to right wing.

However, with fly-half Jones putting in a typically gutsy display and giving his side hope with two more penalties that left them trailing 23-12 at the break, the hosts were at least able to claim their efforts were undimmed by the early Wallaby onslaught.

But a long-range miss from fullback James Hook after 48 minutes and another from Jones in the 50th denied Wales the chance to put serious doubt in the visitors' minds.

The defining moment of Wales' performance came soon after as Jones powered forward and put centre Jamie Roberts into clear space.

But the star of the British and Irish Lions' efforts in South Africa hesitated as Williams' replacement Tom James drifted away from him and between them the Cardiff Blues team-mates allowed allowing Australia off the hook.

The visitors rubbed salt into the wound by working their way into Welsh territory where Giteau kicked his third penalty.

The fly-half then helped create a superb try for replacement hooker Polota-Nau in a move that included some great work from scrum-half Will Genia and centre Quade Cooper. Giteau converted.

Wales will need to rally before their Six Nations campaign opens with a tough trip to face England at Twickenham on 6 February.

But for Australia it was at least a grand finale to what they had hoped would be a Grand Slam tour.

Wales: James Hook (Ospreys); Leigh Halfpenny; Jamie Roberts (both Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets); Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Dwayne Peel (Sale); Gethin Jenkins (capt, Blues), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Paul James, Alun-Wyn Jones (both Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), Dan Lydiate (Dragons), Martyn Williams (Blues), Andy Powell (Blues).
Replacements: Bishop (Ospreys) for Halfpenny (28), T James (Blues) for S Williams (5), M Roberts (Scarlets) for Peel (72), Bennett (Ospreys) for Rees (30), D Jones (Ospreys) for P James (48), Thomas (Ospreys) for Charteris (49), Warburton (Blues) for Lydiate (48).

Australia: Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies); Peter Hynes (Queensland Reds), Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds), Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds), Drew Mitchell (NSW Waratahs); Matt Giteau (Brumbies), Will Genia (Queensland Reds); Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Ben Alexander (Brumbies), James Horwill (Queensland Reds), Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs), Rocky Elsom (capt, Brumbies), David Pocock (Western Force), Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs).
Replacements: O'Connor (Western Force) for Hynes (64), Beale (NSW Waratahs) for Mitchell (70), Burgess (NSW Waratahs) for Genia (79), Polota-Nau (NSW Waratahs) for Moore (55), Dunning (Western Force) for Alexander (73), G Smith (Brumbies) for Pocock (40), Chisholm (Brumbies) for Palu (70).

Att: 74,339

Ref: W Barnes (RFU).

Assistant referees: Romain Poite (Fra), Peter Allan (Sco).

Television match official: Geoff Warren (Eng).

Assessor: Patrick Robin (Fra).

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see also
Gatland 'disappointed' with Wales
28 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Autumn international rugby as it happened
28 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Injury worry for Williams & Rees
29 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Autumn internationals photos
28 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Wallaby wonders: Aussie rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales v Australia: Full record
27 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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