Planet Rugby

Wallabies take the spoils in Cardiff

06th November 2010 13:38

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Adam Ashley-Cooper australia v wales

Shut out: Adam Ashley-Cooper can't find a way past the Welshmen

It wasn't anything to shout home about, but Australia got the job done at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff after beating Wales 25-16 on Saturday.

The Wallabies were a far cry from the team that humbled the mighty All Blacks a week ago, but made the most of their opportunities to record back-to-back wins on the road.

Australia outscored their hosts three tries to one - David Pocock, Kurtley Beale and Ben Alexander all touching down for the Wallabies who produced some dazzling running rugby at times in Cardiff.

However, their scrummaging left plenty to be desired as they were repeatedly overpowered and outmanoeuvred by the Welsh pack.

Wales, though, could not turn that forward dominance into points and had just a converted Richie Rees try and three Stephen Jones penlaties to show for their efforts as Australia ran out worthy winners.

Wales got off to the perfect start and were in front as early as the second minute, after forcing a turnover from the kick-off which then led to three points for Stephen Jones courtesy of hooker Saia Fainga'a strolling offsides.

Australia responded in the best possible way with the simplest of tries to David Pocock, who took advantage of a lack of Welsh defenders to dive over from close range beside the posts.

It was a rather comical error from the hosts, who had used the majority of their resources to fish out what they thought was turnover ball from a ruck, before Will Genia popped up with ball in hand to put Pocock over for the score.

James O'Connor added the extras from bang in front and the Wallabies stole the lead with seven minutes gone on the clock. Stephen Jones had a chance to close the gap, but pulled his second penalty attempt wide.

The Welsh pivot's third, however, sailed through the uprights which cut Australia's lead to a single point with nine minutes of the first half remaining.

O'Connor then failed to raise the flags with his first penalty shot of the match, before lock Nathan Sharpe was denied a try by some extraordinary defence by Wales on their line.

A hack upfield from centre Tom Shanklin relieved the pressure and gave Wales some much-needed territory inside Australia's scoring zone.

The hosts had a chance to end the half in the same manner they started, but Stephen Jones was unsuccessful once again - a miss that cost Wales a certain lead at the break. Instead, the Wallabies headed into the half-time sheds 7-6 up and well aware they had a game on their hands.

However, Wales' tight grip on their southern hemisphere rivals was loosened slightly in the second half following a second try to the Wallabies.

A Quade Cooper grubber came flying back into Kurtely Beales' hands like a boomerang after rebounding off a Welsh player's knee, which allowed the Wallaby full-back to run around prop Gethin Jenkins and put O'Connor away down the touchline.

With one man to beat, O'Connor swung the ball inside to the supporting Beale who finished off with an easy run-in that stretched Australia's lead to eight points following O'Connor's conversion.

Down but not out, Wales kept themselves in with a shout after Stephen Jones found his target to take the scores to 14-9. Though it seemed whenever the home side threatened any resemblance of a comeback, Australia replied by scoring a try as Ben Alexander crossed the whitewash next - the prop's first for his country.

Beale almost scored a brilliant individual second try as he beat Mike Phillips to a high ball before sending a cheeky kick around James Hook, but the marauding full-back could not quite collect and touch down under pressure from the retreating Hook.

Minutes later, Tom Shanklin tackled Pocock without the ball when a try was on and was sent to the sin bin. O'Connor kicked the ensuing penalty to make it 22-9 in favour of the Wallabies.

Wales, though, remained competitive even with 14 men thanks to their pack, which won two scrum penalities five metres out from Australia's tryline. When the teams scrummed for the third time in as many minutes, the ball popped out the back and replacement scrum-half Richie Rees scored a try that gave the hosts hope.

However, that was shortlived as a 72-minute penalty from O'Connor secured the result for the Wallabies, who lost the scrum battle but won the war.

Man of the match: Without a doubt, Kurtley Beale who was the inspiration behind Australia's win.

Moment of the match: There weren't many, but Beale's try certainly was a crucial score to open the second half, and kept Australia in the driving seat.

Villain of the match: Poor Tom Shanklin, he comitted himself to the tackle... but was perhaps a wee bit too enthusiastic. Guilty as charged.

The scorers:

For Wales:
Tries: R Rees
Cons: Biggar
Pens: S Jones 3

For Australia:
Tries: Pocock, Beale, Alexander
Cons: O'Connor 2
Pens: O'Connor 2

Wales: 15 James Hook, 14 Will Harries, 13 Tom Shanklin, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Brad Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 Paul James, 18 Deiniol Jones, 19 Martyn Williams, 20 Richie Rees, 21 Dan Biggar, 22 Chris Czekaj.

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Drew Mitchell, 1o Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom (c), 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Mark Chisholm, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Berrick Barnes, 22 Lachie Turner.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

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