Wallabies' impressive form continues as Wales beaten again
Australia made a hugely encouraging start to their European tour on Saturday, extending their winning run against Wales to 13 matches with a 29-21 triumph in Cardiff.
The Wallabies out-scored their hosts four tries to two at the Principality Stadium, their victory effectively sealed by an opportunist Kurtley Beale score in the 63rd minute.
Michael Hooper was sin-binned soon after, but Australia defied the loss of their captain for 10 minutes to record yet another win over Warren Gatland’s men.
Tatafu Polota-Nau, Adam Coleman and Hooper were the other try-scorers for a Wallabies side now unbeaten in seven matches, while Wales wing Steff Evans crossed in the first half of his home debut.
However, it was also Evans who was stripped of possession by Beale in the second half as Australia’s full-back stole the ball in a tackle before strolling clear to score under the posts.
Hallam Amos’ subsequent 80th-minute score was no more than a consolation for Wales, who will be concerned by a late ankle injury to Jonathan Davies that left the British and Irish Lions centre writhing in agony as the full-time whistle blew.
— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) November 11, 2017
Wales scored first through a Leigh Halfpenny penalty in the ninth minute, but Australia looked the sharper early on and claimed the opening try when hooker Polota-Nau – who will join Leicester Tigers from next month – was driven over with alarming ease from a lineout.
The hosts hit back in style, Evans going over on the left after the ball had been worked from one wing to the other following a scampering Gareth Davies break.
— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 11, 2017
Yet Australia, with a host of able kickers across their backline, were soon ahead again thanks to a wonderful assist from Will Genia. Marika Koroibete was stopped inches short of the Wales line and Genia’s flat, cut-out pass gave Coleman the simplest of walk-in finishes.
After a 51-metre penalty from Reece Hodge – back on the wing with Bernard Foley fit again – and a more routine three-pointer from Halfpenny, Wales coughed up possession as half-time neared and were punished ruthlessly, Hooper stretching over for Australia’s third try.
The conversion was missed and Wales narrowed their deficit from nine to six through Halfpenny 12 minutes into the second period before the full-back failed to hit the target with a kick from halfway.
At that point, the game was in the balance, but Beale’s eye-catching score settled any Australian nerves.
A series of infractions from the visitors culminated in Hooper being yellow-carded with 12 minutes remaining, but Wales’ subsequent pressure went unrewarded before Amos touched down in the final minute for a try that was followed by Jonathan Davies’ worrying injury.
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