Cardiff Blues 3-31 Australia, Cardiff, November 24
Wallabies get back to winning ways
November 24, 2009
Date/Time: Nov 24, 2009, 19:35 local, 19:35 GMT
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff Blues 3 - 31 Australia
Half-time: 3 - 17
Pens: Blair
Tries: Beale 2, Cross, Morahan
Cons: O'Connor 4
Pens: O'Connor
Australia's Sekope Kepu stretches the Blues' defence, Cardiff Blues v Australia, City of Cardiff Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, November 24, 2009
Australia's Sekope Kepu stretches the Blues' defence
© Getty Images

Australia returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 31-3 victory over Cardiff Blues at the City of Cardiff Stadium.

Two tries from Kurtley Beale and others from Ryan Cross and Luke Morahan ensured the Wallabies bounced back from their shock 9-8 defeat to Scotland last weekend and restored some morale ahead of their showdown with Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. Fullback James O'Connor converted all four tries and also kicked a penalty, while Ben Blair booted the Blues' solitary points.

The Blues, playing their first game against a major touring team, fielded scrum-half Gareth Cooper and flanker Sam Warburton after they were released from the Wales squad preparing to tackle Australia. But Blues boss David Young was without a number of Wales stars - including Jamie Roberts, Gethin Jenkins and Martyn Williams - in a side skippered by New Zealander Xavier Rush.

Australia, who beat Gloucester 36-5 three weeks ago in the only other non-Test fixture of their tour, fielded a solitary survivor in Cross from the side beaten at Murrayfield, although their replacements' bench included experienced forwards Mark Chisholm and George Smith.

It took centre Cross just five minutes to make an impact as the Wallabies struck through their first attack. Blair had booted the Blues ahead, but Australia responded superbly after an early setback of losing fly-half Matt Toomua when he suffered a facial injury following an attempted tackle on Cardiff centre Dafydd Hewitt. O'Connor made a telling break in midfield, scattering the Blues defence to all parts, before handing Cross a simple finish.

O'Connor added the conversion and then kicked a penalty before Wallabies coach Robbie Deans made two substitutions in as many minutes, sending on prop Salesi Ma'afu for Peka Cowan and flanker Smith in place of Mitchell Chapman. The Blues huffed and puffed in an attempt to reduce their deficit, but Australia struck almost on half-time when Blair blundered in midfield.

The New Zealander spilled possession, and Beale rounded off a concerted counter-attack by cutting inside two attempted tackles for a try that O'Connor converted, making it 17-3 at half-time.

Cooper was replaced by Richie Rees at the interval, while Blues' regular captain Paul Tito also made an appearance off the bench, yet there was little immediate sign of Australia losing their grip. Even when No.8 Richard Brown was sin-binned for deliberate offside, Australia were never seriously threatened by a Blues outfit high on work-rate, but lacking finesse.

The second period never took off, with neither side able to find their cutting edge in attack, although flanker Matt Hodgson collected Australia's second yellow card for a technical offence. There was just enough time for Australia to make their winning margin an emphatic one.

Morahan crossed following impressive work by his fellow substitute Richard Kingi, then Beale sprinted clear in injury time to complete the Blues' misery.


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