Wales snatch late win against 14-man Wallabies
MATCH REPORT: The ill-disciplined and luckless Wallabies have been punished once last time on their wretched European tour, their 14 men going down 29-28 to Wales in a stop-start, bad-tempered but ultimately thrilling affair in Cardiff.
Just as against Scotland and England, Australia were let down by offering up too many foolish penalties, with Rob Valetini’s red card for a high head tackle after just 15 minutes doing most to condemn them to a fruitless Saturday at the Principality Stadium.
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!
Yet, amazingly, the short-handed Wallabies thought they might even have snatched an incredible win when Kurtley Beale kicked a 78th minute penalty to put them ahead.
But in one last-ditch attack, hailed by a deafening 68,112 crowd, Australia infringed one last time under pressure near their own line to give away the decisive penalty, which was kicked nervelessly by Welsh replacement Rhys Priestland with the last shot of the game in the 82nd minute.
Australia had even been reduced to 13 during the first-half when Beale also spent 10 first-half minutes in the bin.
It meant Dave Rennie’s side have suffered the ignominy of being the first Australia team to fail to win a Test on a European tour for 45 years.
It was a doubly frustrating evening for the Wallabies as they produced some of their best attacking rugby of the tour with three tries from Andrew Kellaway, Nic White and Filipo Daugunu, outdoing two from Wales through Ryan Elias and Nick Tompkins.
After 80 minutes in which they’d barely threatened England’s line the previous week, the Wallabies needed just two minutes to blitz over after a sustained attack launched by White’s box kick over Welsh lines.
A blitzing run by Taniela Tupou did its damage with Kellaway freed to snaffle his ninth try in just 13 Tests from Hunter Paisami’s grubber.
Australia’s disciplinary woes quickly returned to haunt them from the restart, Izack Rodda being pinged for obstruction, allowing Dan Biggar to narrow the deficit from a penalty.
But the key moment came after just quarter of an hour when Valetini, standing tall, crashed head-to-head into the Welsh lock Adam Beard, who had to hobble off and played no further part in the match.
Neither did the Australian No.8, who apologised to his stricken opponent while taking the walk of shame to the touchline before Biggar kicked another penalty.
Worse was to come with when Beale was binned, having been ruled to have deliberately knocked on Tompkins’ slip pass with the home side threatening to score down the right flank.
Immediately, the Welsh punished the 13-man Wallabies, with hooker Ryan Elias ploughing over in the right hand corner from a slick attack off a line-out.
When Tupou went offside – Australia’s ninth penalty of the half – Biggar slotted over to give the hosts a 16-13 interval lead.
Even short-handed, the Wallabies were threatening after the break but were left fuming when centre Tompkins was ruled not to have knocked on a Wallaby pass before strolling over for a score.
When Gareth Thomas went in the bin for a swinging arm clean-out, both sides were down to 14 and the Wallabies cashed in with a brilliant try, instituted by Beale’s incisive break and finished by White.
They then got to within a point when Daugunu, in his first Test since he broke his arm against France, produced a brilliant diving finish in the corner after a sharp break from Paisami, before the thrilling denouement.
Tries: Elias, Tompkins
Cons: Biggar 2
Pens: Biggar 4, Priestland
Tries: Kellaway, White, Daugunu
Cons: O’Connor 2
Pens: O’Connor 2, Beale
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Uilisi Halaholo, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Ellis Jenkins (captain), 5 Seb Davies, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Ben Carter, 20 Christ Tshiunza, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Johnny McNicholl.
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Pete Samu, 6 Rob Leota, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Lachlan Swinton, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Tom Wright.
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)