Wales 28-33 Australia

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Autumn International highlights: Wales 28-33 Australia
Wales (21) 28
Tries: Webb, Cuthbert, Jones, penalty; Cons: Halfpenny (2), Biggar, Priestland
Australia (21) 33
Tries: Folau (2), Kuridrani; Pens: Foley (3); Cons: Foley (3); Drop-goal: Foley

Australia beat Wales for the 10th successive time in a thrilling game, sealing victory late on.

Bernard Foley kicked 18 points, the most crucial coming in the final minutes as he sent over a drop-goal, then a penalty.

Rhys Webb's try opened for Wales and the teams were level 21-21 at the break.

The Wallabies had the edge in the second period, giving new coach Michael Cheika a debut win.

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Gatland sees plenty of positives in Wales defeat by Australia

For Cheika's opposite number, Warren Gatland, it was again agonisingly close, this time a day shy of the seventh anniversary of the day he took charge of Wales.

The hosts went into the game with only two players who had enjoyed victory for Wales against the Wallabies - lock Alun Wyn Jones and centre Jamie Roberts.

Australia's entire match squad was made up of players who had never suffered defeat by the men in the red of Wales.

Cheika also omitted a man who has done as much as anyone to hurt Warren Gatland's Wales in recent years.

Fly-half Quade Cooper was the only current Wallaby to have left the field against Wales defeated, in 2008, when Gatland tasted his only Wales Test success in 26 attempts against one of the major southern hemisphere teams.

Struggle against the best
Wales have now lost 25 of their 26 matches under Warren Gatland against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa

That has led to criticism that even a coach who had conjured three Six Nations titles and a British and Irish Lions Test series win against Australia could not guide Wales over the line against the Wallabies, New Zealand and South Africa.

Questions had also been asked about the mental approach of Wales players when it comes to such occasions, not to mention accusations of tactical predictability. Those questions may surface again.

Against that background, Wales scrum-half Webb also proved predictable, continuing a habit he has become renowned for by dummying his way over for the first of six first-half tries, converted by Leigh Halfpenny.

Wales
Rhys Webb put Wales ahead after only three minutes against Australia at the Millennium Stadium

The thrills Webb started made for as entertaining an opening period as any neutral could have wished for.

But the Ospreys scrum-half provided some other memorable moments he would rather forget.

He could not be held responsible when visiting skipper Michael Hooper burst through Dan Biggar's tackle to send Folau over, Foley converting to level.

But Webb's long pass, intended to send Liam Williams over, was instead intercepted by Folau who raced 70 metres untouched and Foley added the extras.

George North showed his try-making qualities from centre by breaking free before putting Alex Cuthbert away and Halfpenny converted.

Northampton's North was also involved in the next try as he and lock Alun Wyn Jones were brushed aside in Tevita Kuridrani's run to the line. Foley again converted.

With Halfpenny departed because of a head knock, Wales spurned several penalty chances. Instead skipper Sam Warburton spearheaded a series of drives before lock Jones drove over.

Martyn Williams, ex-Wales captain on BBC One
"The Wales players will be sick as dogs yet again. They did everything but put the points on the board.
"You could see the way Wales wanted to play - it was high tempo.
"But, there comes a point when you have to slow down and read the game situation. That's the difference between the top sides and the rest."

Biggar's conversion left the teams 21-21 at the break, but two Foley penalties early in the second half edged them ahead once more.

In the meantime Biggar had departed with injury and he was soon joined at half-back by veteran scrum-half Mike Phillips.

The former's half-break and latter's drive put Wales in the shadow of Australia's posts after North was thwarted in the act of grounding,

Australia conceded a penalty at the scrum and three attempts later, the Wallabies' scrum again succumbed and referee Craig Joubert awarded a penalty try, converted by Priestland and Wales were back in the lead, albeit by one point.

Foley's drop goal after a patient multi-phase attack put the hosts back in the role of game-chasers.

But instead of turning the table on the Wallabies and striking back at the death - as Australia have done so often to Wales in recent years - the visitors retained control and Foley fired over the final penalty to seal victory.

Saturday's teams

Wales: L Halfpenny, A Cuthbert, G North, J Roberts, L Williams, D Biggar, R Webb; P James, R Hibbard, S Lee, J Ball, A Wyn Jones, D Lydiate, S Warburton, T Faletau.

Replacements: C Allen for L Halfpenny (31), R Priestland for D Biggar (48), M Phillips for R Webb (54), S Baldwin for P James (58), G Jenkins for R Hibbard (58), R Jones for S Lee (69), B Davies for J Ball (69), J Tipuric for D Lydiate (76).

Australia: I Folau, A Ashley-Cooper, T Kuridrani, C Leali'ifano, J Tomane, B Foley, N Phipps; J Slipper, S Fainga'a, S Kepu, S Carter, R Simmons, S McMahon, M Hooper, B McCalman.

Replacements: W Skelton for S Carter (51), J Hanson for S Fainga'a (60), B Alexander for S Kepu (68), J Horwill for R Simmons (68), W Genia for N Phipps (69), M Hodgson for S McMahon (71), T Faulkner for J Slipper (74), R Horne for C Leali'ifano (77).

Bernard Foley
Bernard Foley kicked 18 points for Australia, including this 74th-minute drop-goal
Australia
Australia have now won 22 of the last 25 games against Wales
Wales v Australia
Wales have lost by less than 10 points in nine of their last 10 international matches against Australia

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