Rugby World Cup
Anatomy of Wallabies' 11-Test domination of Wales
Sam Bruce
October 11, 2015
Australia deliver defensive masterclass

This doesn't make for great reading if you're a Wales fan: 11 straight defeats at the hands of the Wallabies stretching back to 2008; only the Dragons' record against New Zealand is worse, and they haven't beaten the All Blacks since 1953.

So what's been the problem against the Wallabies? It's not like they haven't been close; all but three of the defeats have been by seven points or fewer.

We review Australia's 11 straight victories including their immense defensive effort in Rugby World Cup Pool A at Twickenham, and wonder when Wales might get on the right side of the ledger..

Wales 12-33 Australia

(Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, November 28, 2009)

The worst defeat of this 10-match losing run, Wales overwhelmingly dominated both territory and possession at Millennium Stadium but failed to make the most of their opportunities. Matt Giteau ran the show for the Wallabies at No.10 while, surprisingly, Quade Cooper combined in midfield with then Queensland Reds team-mate Digby Ioane. Australia led 23-11 at the break with tries from Ioane, James Horwill and David Pocock before Tatafu Polota-Nau grabbed the only five-pointer of the second stanza. Crucially, Wales had a tackling success rate of just 72%.

Wales' dejected players leave the pitch © Getty Images

Wales 16-25 Australia

(Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, November 6, 2010)

Wales were without a host of their best attacking players, with Leigh Halfpenny, Lee Byrne and Jamie Roberts all sidelined by injury. Those omissions proved key yet again as the hosts failed to break down the Wallabies' defence until the 70th minute - after the Aussies had posted three tries of their own. Kurtley Beale, playing in the now unfamiliar position of full-back with Israel Folau's code-swap, was the star of the show, the Wallabies custodian rounding out arguably his finest season of Test rugby with a brilliant counter-attacking game and superb skills under the high ball.

The Wales front row, Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones, look on dejected © Getty Images

Australia 21-18 Wales

(Eden Park, Auckland, RWC 2011 Bronze Final, October 21, 2011)

You may recall this as the match when Quade Cooper's trademark step saw him collapse in a heap on the turf. Pilloried by the New Zealand fans throughout the tournament, Cooper suffered one final insult as he snapped the ACL tendon in his right knee. The Wallabies overcame the loss of their playmaker, though, with Berrick Barnes and Ben McCalman grabbing five-pointers - the back-rower's effort sealing the bronze medal four minutes from time. Wales were without skipper Sam Warburton, the openside serving a three-week suspension following his red card in the semi-final loss to France.

The Wallabies celebrate their bronze medal triumph © Getty Images

Wales 18-24 Australia

(Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, December 3, 2011)

Forced to go on tour after the World Cup by the cash-strapped Australian Rugby Union, the Wallabies headed north for matches against the Barbarians and Wales. The Test in Cardiff served as somewhat of a testimonial for veteran Wales winger Shane Williams, and the little maestro marked the occasion with a try - somersault included - in the shadows of full-time. Ultimately, this was another dark night for Wales as the Wallabies scored three tries in a 10-minute period midway through the second half to all but secure the result with the final quarter still to play. This was the first occasion when then-Wallabies coach Robbie Deans used James O'Connor at fly-half - the selection for which he was slammed during the 2013 series defeat by the British & Irish Lions.

Berrick Barnes was key for Australia in December 2011 © Getty Images

Australia 27-19 Wales

(Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, June 9, 2012)

The first of a tough three-Test series Down Under, Wales were unable to again match the hosts' try-scoring ability. First-half tries from Scott Higginbotham and Will Genia saw the Wallabies lead 17-3 at the break before the boot of Leigh Halfpenny, and a try from Alex Cuthbert, helped the visitors claw their way back within a point midway through the second half. But that would be as close as they would come, as Pat McCabe burst through from close range with Berrick Barnes adding the extras to complete the eight-point victory.

Wales winger Alex Cuthbert gets to grips with defeat © Getty Images
Delight for Australia's Mike Harris, Australia v Wales, Dockland's Stadium, Melbourne, Australia, June 16, 2012
Delight for Australia's Mike Harris © Getty Images

Australia 25-23 Wales

(Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, June 16, 2012)

Easily the most heart-breaking defeat of this wretched run, the visitors were sunk by an 80th-minute penalty from New Zealand-born replacement Mike Harris. Wales had earlier scored two tries to one as the lead changed hands nine times, the Wallabies staying in touch via the boot of Berrick Barnes and a five-pointer through centre Rob Horne. Leigh Halfpenny and Barnes embarked on a kicking duel during the closing stages of the match before Harris was asked to nail the match-winner after Richard Hibbard had been penalised for collapsing a maul. He did so, and the series was done.

Australia 20-19 Wales

(Sydney Football Stadium, June 23, 2012)

Afternoon rugby returned to Sydney for the first time in years for this clash, and the Wallabies again rode Berrick Barnes' boot to victory. The two sides scored a try apiece, within four minutes of each other, in an old-fashioned battle up front; much to the dismay of the fans who were hoping for an open encounter in the winter sun. The star of the show was undoubtedly Wallabies openside David Pocock, who made the most of a confusing performance from referee Craig Joubert at the breakdown. Wales arguably played more of the rugby but were guilty of a failure to adjust to Joubert's breakdown interpretations and not securing their restarts after points. The one-point defeat meant Wales would remain winless on Australian soil since 1969.

Wales' Leigh Halfpenny reflects on another narrow defeat © PA Photos

Wales 12-14 Australia

(Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, December 1, 2012)

In one of the most dour Autumn internationals in recent memory, the Wallabies escaped with victory via a last-minute try from Kurtley Beale. The ramifications of that try would be much greater than the result, however, as Wales slipped to No.9 in the world rankings and became the dangerous floater in the third pot of teams at the Rugby World Cup draw - a fact that led to the Pool of Death from which England failed to escape at their own tournament. Beale scored all of Australia's points while Halfpenny did the same for Wales before he left the field on a stretcher. This was another game that Wales should have won, yet their brief lapse in concentration inside the final minute saw the Wallabies shift the ball to score and give Nathan Sharpe the perfect retirement present.

Australia's Kurtley Beale dives into score the match-winning try © PA Photos

Wales 26-30 Australia

(Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, November 30, 2013)

This five-try thriller rounded out the Test action for 2013, and the hosts kick-started proceedings as George North capitalised on turnover ball to give Wales the perfect start. But enigmatic Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper, in his 50th Test, soon began to take control as the Wallabies notched tries through Christian Leali'ifano and Israel Folau before the break, and the Joe Tomane eight minutes after the resumption. North grabbed a second just before the hour mark, but Leali'ifano enjoyed a perfect night from the kicking tee - six from six - to ensure the Wallabies could not be run down in claiming a four-point win.

Joe Tomane touches down superbly to put Australia in control against in Cardiff © Getty Images

Wales 28-33 Australia

(Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, November 8, 2014)

Michael Cheika was just a couple of weeks into his Wallabies tenure when he arrived in Cardiff for this Test against Wales. A victory over the Barbarians a week prior had given the new boss a winning start, and that vein continued - albeit after a few early nerves. The sides scored three tries apiece in an entertaining first half before the boot of Bernard Foley - Australia's hero at Twickenham just a few days ago - saw the visitors complete their 10th straight victory over Wales. The hosts were awarded a penalty try after a series of Wallabies scrums collapsed, but Foley's clutch kicking - which included a drop goal - produce a margin too big to reel in over the closing minutes.

Wales' captain Sam Warburton picks himself up after losing to Australia © Getty Images

Australia 15-6 Wales

(Twickenham, RWC Pool A, October 10, 2015)

The Wallabies produced one of the gutsiest wins in their proud history to set up a quarter-final date with Scotland. Just who is available to play that game remained to be seen after a brutal victory over Wales at Twickenham on Saturday night. It wasn't the prettiest of victories but it tasted all the sweeter after they were forced to defend their line with both Will Genia and Dean Mumm in the sin-bin. The Welsh suffered a bit of white-line fever during that period while Toby Faletau knocked on over the line before George North was held up. But it was the Wallabies' ability to scramble that saw them through, a brilliant tackle and turnover from Adam Ashley-Cooper eventually seeing them clear their line. Two Bernard Foley penalties were all they needed in the second half as they turned a 9-6 half-time lead into a memorable 15-6 victory.

The Wallabies huddle as they celebrate the most intense of the 11 victories © Getty Images

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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