A dominant first-half performance saw Australia win their 12 consecutive Test against Wales with a 32-8 victory in Cardiff on Saturday.
Australia’s ambitious quest for a Grand Slam had the perfect start as they outscored Wales with five tries to one.
The visitors effectively won the game in the first 40 minutes in a one-sided half which saw them score three tries while only conceding one penalty.
Australia dominated throughout as they enjoyed the lions share of possession and territory which should have given them an even bigger lead by half time.
Bernard Foley and Leigh Halfpenny exchanged penalties early penalties early on, but it was Michael Cheika’s men who looked far more dangerous with ball in hand. They stretched the play by putting plenty of width on the ball and their ability to get over the advantage line put plenty of pressure on the Wales’ defence.
But it was Australia’s quick line speed and their ability to offload in the tackle which created plenty of space out wide. Their first try came courtesy of a five metre lineout, the resulting driving maul gave captain Stephen Moore the perfect platform to get over the line.
Wales struggled to get their hands on the ball and when they did, they failed to get out of their own half and play some rugby on the other side of the field. They barely had a try-scoring opportunity in the first half, most of their effort going towards stopping the rampant Wallabies from running riot.
Their defence was put under further pressure when Dan Biggar received a yellow card for an early tackle on Dane Haylett-Petty, who looked set for a try in the corner after receiving an offload from the impressive Israel Folau.
Strangely, Australia failed to add any points while Wales were reduced to 14 men, but ironically, as soon as Biggar made his way back onto the field, the Aussies pounced for their second five-pointer.
From a ruck Reece Hodge got an inside pass, allowing him to hit a gap before giving the ball to Folau on his outside. The full-back drew a defender before giving the ball back to Hodge on his inside for a clear run-in.
Leigh Halfpenny had a poor afternoon with the boot which prevented Wales from keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
Tevita Kuridrani added Australia’s third try five minutes from the break which would have left Rob Howley fuming at his side’s defensive organisation. Kuridrani received the ball on the blindside from a ruck and gave a simple dummy pass which allowed him the space to run through, his power and pace enough to secure the points.
The hosts showed some more fight after the break but they lacked any clear plans or dynamism and after enjoying a period with ball in hand, they conceded a try against the run of play, their poor defensive organisation again brutally exposed.
This time it was Foley who simply ran through a big gap in midfield for an easy try which effectively killed the contest.
Wales kept on trying and enjoyed their best period of the game midway through the second half. Scott Willaims finally got them a consolation try after he received the ball at first receiver, kicked it through and had the pace to recollect and score.
However, the Wallabies had the final say when Haylett-Petty showed enough pace to score a well deserved try to rub more salt in Wales’ wounds.
Yellow Card: Biggar
Tries: Moore, Hodge, Kuridrani, Foley, Haylett-Petty
Cons: Foley 3
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Samson Le, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Cory Hill, 20 James King, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Hallam Amos
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Lopeti Timani, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 David Pocock, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Scott Fardy, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Sefa Naivalu
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)