Kurtley Beale forced a turnover and raced away for the decisive try as Australia streaked to a 29-21 win against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
The Wallabies feasted on Wales’ commitment to possession and wide-front attack, converting a string of unforced errors into four tries from Tatafu Polota-Nau, Adam Coleman, Michael Hooper and Beale. For all their endeavour, Wales could only muster two tries through Steff Evans and Hallam Amos, despite a yellow card to Australia captain Michael Hooper.
Leigh Halfpenny gave Wales an eighth-minute lead as his penalty sailed through the posts.
The Wallabies took the lead with Polota-Nau going over at the back of a lineout driving maul. Bernard Foley added the extras to make it 7-3 after 13 minutes.
Soon after, Wales retook the lead after good work by Gareth Davies initially to make the break down the right wing. The ball was recycled to the left where Evans produced a clinical finish. Halfpenny was, as usual, accurate from the tee and gave the hosts a 10-7 lead.
But the Wallabies hit back immediately with Coleman going over after Foley’s grubber bamboozled the Welsh defence. Marika Koroibete was halted inches from the line and Will Genia’s flat, spin-pass was gobbled up by Coleman. Foley converted as Australia led 14-10 after 23 minutes.
Reece Hodge extended the Wallabies lead with a long-range penalty after Josh Navidi was penalised for holding on after good work by Sean McMahon at the breakdown to get his body over the ball and secure the turnover penalty.
A Halfpenny penalty reduced the deficit to four after 37 minutes but there was still time before the interval for the Wallabies to score another try and it was skipper Hooper who showed good pace to fend off Davies and dot down as the Wallabies took a 22-13 lead into the interval.
Against the run of play, Beale extended the visitors’ lead when he pounced on Evans’ spill to race through all the way to the line. Foley converted to make it 29-16 after 64 minutes.
Hooper was then yellow-carded for an offence at the breakdown after repeated infringements from the Wallabies.
And Wales capitalised on their numerical advantage when Amos gathered Davies’ kick and managed to dot down within the field of play despite the best efforts of Koroibete.
But the Wallabies had still done too much and ran out 29-21 winners.
Tries: Evans, Amos
Pens: Halfpenny 3
Tries: Polota-Nau, Coleman, Hooper, Beale
Cons: Foley 3
WALES: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans
Bench: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Sam Cross, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Owen Watkin, 23 Hallam Amos
WALLABIES: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio
Bench: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Karmichael Hunt, 23 Henry Speight
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Ian Tempest (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)