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RWC 2019: Wales Beat Australia 29-25

Wales Top Pool D after World Cup crunch game

Wales held off an incredible Australia fightback in the second half as a late Rhys Patchell penalty confirmed a dramatic 29-25 Rugby World Cup Pool D win.

First-half tries from Hadleigh Parkes and Gareth Davies, plus a Dan Biggar drop-goal and two Patchell penalties had Wales 23-8 up at half-time, while a further drop-goal in the second half from Patchell extended that lead to 18 points.

But the Wallabies came roaring back with tries from Dane-Haylett Petty and Michael Hooper, plus two conversions and a penalty from replacement Matt Toomua to cut the gap to a single point with 13 minutes remaining.

Patchell's penalty inside the final 10 minutes broke the scoring sequence and restored Wales' lead to four points and it proved just enough as Warren Gatland's side hung on under huge pressure to clinch a vital Pool D victory.

The first points of the Test arrived just past 30 seconds when Wales flanker Aaron Wainwright turned the ball over after a wonderful Wales counter-ruck in the Australia 22, handing Biggar the platform to execute a drop-goal for 3-0.

Biggar missed the chance to double the lead on four minutes when he struck a penalty wide from near the left touchline after Australia wing Adam Ashley-Cooper was penalised for going off feet at the breakdown, but Wales would soon notch the opening try.

On 13 minutes, Biggar sent a gorgeous clipped kick towards the comer playing on penalty advantage, landing right on top of Wallabies wing Marika Koroibete, who could not get up to compete with centre Parkes - the Scarlet claiming the high ball superbly before scoring. When Biggar swerved the conversion over from the right touchline, the lead was 10-0.

Wales continued to probe but did not add to their lead as Biggar missed a second drop goal attempt from further out, before Wallabies second row Izack Rodda stole a Wales lineout within the Australia 22.

A breakdown penalty won by Wallabies back-row pair Hooper and David Pocock handed Australia field-position, from where James O'Connor jinked in and out and offloaded to Samu Kerevi - who then made the telling line-break.

From there and on penalty advantage, Foley put in a cross-field kick which was perfect for Ashley-Cooper to claim, as the 35-year-old cut back inside Biggar and Josh Adams to dive over - becoming Australia's oldest World Cup try-scorer in the process. Foley missed the conversion, however, only halving Wales' lead.

 

Just shy of the half-hour mark, Foley curled over a penalty off the tee when George North was penalised for going off-feet at the breakdown, but hands in the ruck from Hooper two minutes later - a very harsh call based on replays - saw Patchell strike over three more points with Biggar undergoing a Head Injury Assessment (HIA).

Four minutes from the close of the half, Wallabies centre Kerevi was penalised for leading with the forearm in the carry, connecting with the chest and then throat of Patchell. The replacement picked himself up to strike over from just under 50 metres out, and from the restart things got even better for Wales.

Patchell came on for Dan Biggar in the first half, and remained on for the rest of the Test, kicking the vital late penalty which restored a four-point lead.

Scrum-half Davies picked off an intercept from opposite number Will Genia within his own half before searing down the touchline to dive over. When Patchell converted, the score was left a daunting 23-8 at half-time - the highest points total Wales have ever registered against Australia at the interval in 111 years of Tests.

Four minutes into the second half, Wales scored first as Patchell landed a mis-hit drop-goal from close range, to extend the advantage to an incredible 18 points.

Matt Toomua came on to provide a considerable impact off the bench, and reduced the Wales lead to a point off the tee
Matt Toomua came on to provide a considerable impact off the bench, and reduced the Wales lead to a point off the tee
Two minutes later, Matt Toomua emerged from the bench to make a break up the left wing and a couple of recycles later Haylett-Petty was diving over by the posts for Australia's second try off a Pocock offload.

On the 50-minute mark, Davies looked over for a second intercept score in an identical situation to his first-half score, but dropped the ball as he reclaimed.

Adams avoided a yellow card for a high shot on Australia No 8 Isi Naisarani after a TMO review, but Wales survived the next Wallabies attack without conceding when Kerevi knocked on in the 22.

Under enormous pressure, Wales gave away three penalties within their own 22 - one at the maul and two offsides - before eventually Wallabies captain Hooper barrelled over to ground on the line under the posts.

Australia then, almost unbelievably, cut the gap to just one point via Toomua off the tee from close range after a scrum penalty earned by the Wallabies pack.

Australia then, almost unbelievably, cut the gap to just one point via Toomua off the tee from close range after a scrum penalty earned by the Wallabies pack.

Patchell restored the Wales lead to four points with nine minutes left when he sneaked a penalty just inside the post after Rodda was penalised at the lineout.

And that proved the end of the scoring as Toomua crucially missed touch with a penalty from hand in the closing stages and Wales replacement Owen Watkin turned possession over in the final play.

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