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Australia hold on to beat resurgent Wales

George North of Wales dives over for a try despite being held by Israel Folau

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Article Published: Saturday 30 November 2013






Wales Australia held on to beat a resurgent Wales team 26-30 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to take extend their record to nine consecutive wins over the Welsh.

Wales were desperate to get a victory over the Australians as they are in the same pool as the Wallabies and England at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Instead Australia will now hold a strong psychological advantage over the Six Nations champions.

Wales winger George North scored a brace of tries and almost scored a third for a hat trick.

The star of the show was however Quade Cooper who's skills and running with the ball dazzled througout the match until he was sinbinned with four minutes remaining for tackling a player without the ball. 

From Cooper's yellow card Wales went for the line out with the resulting penalty and came away with nothing which effectively cost them the match.

Australia led 16-17 at half time and in the early stages of the second half they extended their lead to 16-30 before Wales came back into the match starting with North's second try.

Earlier North gave Wales the perfect start by scoring a brilliant try from inside his half after 1 minute and 9 seconds.

The Wallabies scored three tries to two from Wales wing George North, with Australia centre Christian Leali'ifano, who crossed the Welsh line, contributing 20 points in all.

This success for Ewen McKenzie's men was all the more significant given Australia and Wales have been drawn in the same World Cup 'group of death' as 2015 hosts England.

And the Wallabies' tour-ending triumph also meant they'd won four Tests in a row for the first time since the opening matches of former coach Robbie Deans's reign in 2008.

Australia fly-half Quade Cooper marked his 50th Test with several moments of superb passing skill as the Wallabies fought back to lead 17-16 at the end of a breathless first half.

"As a team we're very relieved," man-of-the-match Cooper told the BBC. "We've started to put things together as a team but Wales kept coming back at us."

For Six Nations champions Wales this loss extended their poor run against the southern hemisphere giants of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia to just one win in 23 Tests.

And that was despite coach Warren Gatland's starting XV containing nine members of the victorious British and Irish Lions squad the New Zealander guided to a 2-1 series win in Australia in July.

Wales made a stunning start after Australia's Israel Folau made a slicing run into their territory only to be hauled down by desperate cover defence.

Welsh lock Alun Wyn Jones won turnover ball, which found its way to fellow Lions star North.

The flyer sprinted down the touchline before kicking ahead and, with Adam Ashley-Cooper failing to deal with the loose ball, regathered for a try.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny, man of the series for the Lions in Australia, landed the tough conversion before kicking a penalty to leave Wales 10-0 ahead before Leali'ifano exchanged penalties with the local hero.

But there was barely time to draw breath in an end-to-end match before Australia hit back with a superbly-crafted score in the 18th minute.

Flanker Michael Hooper won a turnover before Cooper's back of the hand pass found Joe Tomane, with the wing's precise inside ball to Leali'ifano sending the centre in for a well-worked try, which he converted.

Then, to the collective astonishment of a capacity crowd, Halfpenny saw a penalty kick come back off the left post.

But fly-half Dan Biggar kicked Wales into a 16-10 lead on the half hour after Australia lock James Horwill left his hands in a ruck.

And Australia, in a first half where there wasn't a single scrum, turned round with a one-point lead thanks to a try scored soon after Biggar was sin-binned for holding on at the tackle.

Full-back Folau, missed by Mike Phillips when the Wales scrum-half was too high with his attempted tackle, crossed from close range, despite thumping tackles by North on Ashley-Cooper and hooker Richard Hibbard on skipper Ben Mowen in the build-up.

And Australia had another try in the 48th minute when Tomane plucked the ball off the ground following a poor pass from Folau.

Referee Wayne Barnes called for replay assistance but ultimately the officials decided the final pass hadn't gone forward -- a decision greeted by mass booing.

Leali'ifano converted and added a penalty to leave Australia 30-16 in front.

But this time it was Wales's turn to bounce back with North bursting through and leaving Will Genia in his wake for a 58th minute try.

Biggar converted before a penalty from his replacement, Rhys Priestland, cut Australia's lead to four points.

The Wallabies had to play the last few minutes a man down after Cooper was yellow-carded for tackling Scott Williams without the ball but Australia held on.

"I was worried when I got the yellow card," said Cooper. "I was ashamed to put my team in a position like that but we've got a tight unit and got away with the win."

Final Score Wales 26 (16) Australia 30 (17)

Scorers

Wales
Tries - North (2)
Pen -Halfpenny (2), Biggar, Priestland
Con - Halfpenny, Biggar
Drop -

Australia
Tries - Lealiifano, Folau, Tomane
Pen - Lealiifano (3)
Con - Lealiifano (3)
Drop -

Match Officials
Referee
: Wayne Barnes (ENG)

Teams

Wales

Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Owen Williams, Scott Williams, George North; Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton (capt), Dan Lydiate; Ian Evans, Alun Wyn Jones; Rhodri Jones, Richard Hibbard, Gethin Jenkins

Replacements: Ken Owens, Ryan Bevington, Samson Lee, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric, Rhodri Williams, Rhys Priestland, Liam Williams

Australia

Israel Folau, Joe Tomane, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Leali'ifano, Nick Cummins; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Ben Mowen (capt), Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy; James Horwill, Rob Simmons; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, James Slipper

Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Ben Alexander, Kane Douglas Dave Dennis, Nic White, Mike Harris, Bernard Foley

 

 

 
 
 
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