Wallabies on course for early exit after heavy defeat to Wales
MATCH REPORT: Australia’s World Cup destiny is now totally out of their hands after they suffered a 6-40 defeat to Wales in their Pool C encounter in Lyon on Sunday.
After going down 15-22 defeat to Fiji a week earlier, Australia needed a win against Wales to stay fully in the quarterfinal race. However, they were outplayed by the Welsh during the 80 minutes.
The Wallabies, who face Portugal in their final pool game, will now need Fiji to falter in their two pool games against Georgia and Portugal if they are to have a chance of making it into the last eight.
However, with Fiji’s form at the moment that currently seems unlikely.
Wales’ win was even more impressive considering that they lost flyhalf Dan Biggar in the 12th minute to an injury.
He was replaced by Gareth Anscombe, who delivered the goods with a 23-point haul in the match.
It was a fantastic start for Wales with captain Jac Morgan breaking through the Wallabies’ defensive line in the midfield before he fed the ball on his inside to Gareth Davies who raced away for the first try in the third minute. Biggar added the extra two points with the conversion.
The Wallabies turned up the heat after that and they were nearly in. However, they settled for a three-pointer from Ben Donaldson after some sustained pressure inside Wales’ 22.
The Welsh then suffered a setback when Biggar left the field with what looked like a shoulder injury.
Wales’ lead was then reduced to just a point after Donaldson converted a scrum penalty into three points in the 14th minute.
Biggar’s replacement, Anscombe, had an opportunity to push the lead out to four points again in the 19th minute but he hit the upright with his penalty. However, he made amends for it moments later with a three-pointer after another infringement from the Wallabies.
It became 13-6 to Wales in the 29th minute with Anscombe finding the target with a penalty and he closed the first half with another three-pointer to give his team a 16-6 lead at the break.
The trend continued in the opening minutes of the second half with Wales winning a scrum penalty and Anscombe turning it into three points to push the lead to 13 points.
Things then went from bad to worse for the Wallabies when Wales centre Nick Tompkins won the race to the ball in Australia’s tryline after a neat chip kick from Anscombe, who also converted the score.
It became a 23-point lead in the 52nd minute after Anscombe added another three points to the tally as Australia slowly began to fade away.
Anscombe added another three points midway in the second half and then he rubbed salt into Australia’s wounds with a fantastic drop goal in the 70th minute.
Captain Morgan put a seal on the game with a try from a driving maul a few minutes before full-time.
Man of the match: Wales captain Jac Morgan was industrious in open play and he set up the opening try for Gareth Davies with a great linebreak. Scrumhalf Davies was also lively during the 80 minutes and he gave the Wallabies plenty of problems with his speed and direction. However, the award goes to Gareth Anscombe, who came on to replace the injured Dan Biggar after 12 minutes. He scored 23 of his team’s points and he created a try with a great chip kick.
Tries: Davies, Tompkins, Morgan
Cons: Biggar, Anscombe
Pens: Anscombe 6
Pens: Donaldson 2
Wales: 15 Liam Williams; 14 Louis Rees Zammit, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Jac Morgan (Captain), 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dafydd Jenkins, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Rio Dyer.
Australia: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Tom Hooper, 6 Rob Leota, 5 Richie Arnold, 4 Nick Frost, 3 James Slipper, 2 David Porecki (captain), 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Matt Faessler, 17 Blake Schoupp, 18 Pone Fa’amausili, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Nic White, 22 Carter Gordon, 23 Suliasi Vunivalu.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce (England) & Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)