Rob Howley’s side have a chance on Saturday to end an 11-game losing streak to the Wallabies, the longest run Australia have ever had in this fixture.
Going back through the run of losses however shows that there have been plenty of near-misses along the way, even through the average margin of defeat has been 8.8 points.
2009 – Wales 12-33 Australia
Shane Williams left the field after just five minutes and things never truly got better for Wales, relying on the boots of Leigh Halfpenny and Stephen Jones to keep in touch. Australia though were dominant, scoring four tries through Digby Ioane, James Horwill, David Pocock and Tatafu Polota-Nau to wrap up their tour with a convincing win.
2010 – Wales 16-25 Australia
The Wallabies scrum was a mess but it didn’t matter, because they tore Wales up with an attacking blueprint which the hosts had no answer for in Cardiff. It was tight at the break, the Wallabies ahead 7-6 after a David Pocock score. Tries though from Kurtley Beale, named Man of the Match, and Ben Alexander gave Australia the required breathing space, with James O’Connor’s late penalty guaranteeing victory.
2011 (RWC) – Australia 21-18 Wales
The third-place play-off wasn’t exactly a game either team wanted to be in, with Australia having had high hopes after winning the Tri-Nations and Wales in-form. Warren Gatland’s side though were off the pace and the contest wasn’t as close as the score suggests, with Leigh Halfpenny’s 83rd-minute try merely a consolation. David Pocock shone again, with Berrick Barnes and Ben McCalman the try scorers.
2011 – Wales 18-24 Australia
Shane Williams hung up his international boots in an emotional farewell in Cardiff, scoring his 58th Test try with the final play of the game. Wales had lost, but the crowd’s roar suggested otherwise in that moment. Wales had led 6-0 at half-time, but a trio of tries from Will Genia, Lachie Turner and Berrick Barnes swung the momentum, and the result.
2012 – Australia 27-19 Wales
The Wallabies had lost to Scotland the previous week and had to hold off a comeback from Gatland’s side to bounce back in Brisbane. Leigh Halfpenny’s boot meant Wales were never out, but Australia outscored the visitors by three tries to one through Scott Higginbotham, Will Genia and Pat McCabe.
2012 – Australia 25-23 Wales
Late, late drama as Mike Harris knocked over an 83rd-minute penalty to snatch victory for Australia, and a 2-0 series lead in the process with one game to go in Melbourne. A long-range effort from Jonathan Davies and Leigh Halfpenny’s boot had given Wales a late lead, before Harris stepped up, on a replacement for Berrick Barnes who played a major role in Rob Horne’s sole try for the Wallabies.
2012 – Australia 20-19 Wales
A point closer, but still defeated. Wales headed home after another agonising loss, having led at one point 19-17 through Leigh Halfpenny’s fourth penalty. Both sides could only must one try apiece, through Rob Horne and Ryan Jones respectively, but it was the boot of Berrick Barnes that clinched the whitewash series victory.
2012 – Wales 12-14 Australia
Anticipation was high for the fourth match that year between the two sides and the finish certainly delivered, as Kurtley Beale swooped in for the latest of tries to clinch the win at the Millennium Stadium with less than 30 seconds to go. Leigh Halfpenny and Beale had traded penalties throughout, as Wales slumped to a seventh straight Test loss.
2013 – Wales 26-30 Australia
Wales did everything to fight back having been down 30-16 in the second half, and George North’s second try and a Rhys Priestland penalty were enough to bring them within four points, only for the Wallabies to hang on. Christian Leali’ifano scored 20 of Australia’s points, including their first try, with Israel Folau and Joe Tomane also crossing.
2014 – Wales 28-33 Australia
Another thriller, and more Welsh heartbreak, as Australia came from behind in the second half in Cardiff. A high-scoring first half saw the two sides level at 21-21, thanks to tries from Rhys Webb, Alex Cuthbert and Alun Wyn Jones and an Israel Folau double, including an interception, plus Tevita Kuridrani’s score. Bernard Foley was the match-winner, finishing with 18 points including a drop goal.
2015 (RWC) – Australia 15-6 Wales
For seven minutes the Wallabies were down to 13 men, but Wales failed to capitalise, in a try-less shootout at Twickenham in the pool stages of the World Cup. Bernard Foley was in excellent kicking form, landing five penalties to two from Dan Biggar, in a remarkably physical contest. As a result Australia topped the pool, with England knocked out.