Wales edge past Australia in an enthralling encounter

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Wow. What a match. Eighty long, hard minutes of two impressive sides hurtling themselves at each other in what was a fine advert for the game of rugby. Nonetheless, let the focus not be detracted from a Welsh side who asserted themselves on this match from the first whistle, with Biggar scoring a classy drop goal within the opening minute.

Welsh fans would have been exceedingly happy with their side’s first-half performance as they entered the break with a fifteen point lead, built through an ingenious try created by Dan Biggar and scored by Hadleigh Parkes as well as an electrifying interception-try from scrum-half Gareth Davies. The second half was a different story, however. Despite another drop-goal, this time from Biggar’s precocious replacement at fly-half, Rhys Patchell, Australia soon began to claw themselves back into the game with two converted tries, adding to the one scored in the first half by Adam Ashley-Cooper, who ages like a fine wine. Much of this resurgence was masterminded by half-back replacements, Matt Toomua and Nic White, with the latter’s bold facial hair demanding an equally bold performance, which he resoundingly delivered.

Even in the face of this unrelenting Wallaby onslaught, Wales, led by their monumental all-time record cap holder and captain Alun Wyn Jones, never looked panicked and gradually regained control of this tightly fought match. Ultimately, when Tomos Williams kicked the ball off the field once the final gong had sounded, Wales had achieved a deserved 29-25 victory.

Yet there will still be questions in the Welsh camp over the severity of injuries to the likes of Dan Biggar, who fell victim to the sometimes over-zealous Aussie defence. A late shoulder-charge by captain Michael Hooper and a controversial forearm led collision by the ever-dangerous Samu Kerevi, for which both were lucky to escape yellow cards and will raise further questions about this World Cup’s refereeing, ensured the Wallabies lived up to their pantomime-villain status.

Nevertheless, Wales will still proceed from this encounter pleased to have overcome their old foes on their march to previously elusive World Cup glory, a march which seems to be gaining ever more momentum. With a ten day rest before facing an unconvincing Fiji side, the Welsh campaign is starting to seem more and more unstoppable. Undoubtedly, if Wales continue to produce more merciless and unforgiving performances in the vein of today then this could prove to be the case.

Man of the match:

Gareth Davies was an integral part of Wales’s win today as he persistently pestered Will Genia’s passes from the breakdown and proved an ever-present threat.