Wales 28-33 Australia
Foley kicks Wallabies home after six-try first half
ESPN Staff
November 8, 2014
Date/Time: Nov 8, 2014, 14:30 local, 14:30 GMT
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Wales 28 - 33 Australia
Attendance: 55004  Half-time: 21 - 21
Tries: Cuthbert, AW Jones, Webb, Penalty
Cons: Biggar, Halfpenny 2, Priestland
Tries: Folau 2, Kuridrani
Cons: Foley 3
Pens: Foley 3
Drops: Foley
Bernard Foley kicks a drop goal to put Australia ahead in the closing stages, despite the attentions of Mike Phillips, Wales v Australia, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, November 8, 2014
Bernard Foley kicks a drop goal to put Australia ahead in the closing stages
© Getty Images

A drop goal and a penalty in the closing stages from Bernard Foley gave Australia a hard-earned 33-28 victory over Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

A frenetic first half brought six tries. Rhys Webb set the tone when he crossed for Wales after three minutes, before a double from Israel Folau - the second a 80-metre interception - put Australia in command.

Their lead lasted just three minutes as George North burst clear and set up Alex Cuthbert for the fourth try of the first 24 minutes of the game.

Tevita Kuridrani re-established the Wallabies' lead, but it was cancelled out in the final play of the first half when Alun-Wyn Jones got the referee's benefit in a pushover.

Wales lost Leigh Halfpenny to injury in the first half and he was followed in the second half by Dan Biggar, depriving the hosts of their first two kickers. Two second-half penalties from Bernard Foley moved Australia 27-21 ahead with 25 minutes to play, but a period of scrummaging pressure on the Australian line eventually led to the award of a penalty try to Wales.

Foley added a drop goal after good work from Australia to recycle possession inside the Wales 22 and the Wallabies continued to play keep-ball for the remainder of the match. When Sam Warburton was penalised for coming in from the side, Foley kicked a penalty to extend the lead to five and finally blow out the Welsh fire.

Wales shuffled their pack as they looked to end a nine-game losing streak against Australia. In-form Northampton Saints wing George North moved into the centre following injuries to Jonathan Davies and Scott Williams and Rhys Webb was preferred to Mike Phillips at scrum-half among six changes from June's second Test loss to South Africa.

Wales' last victory against the Wallabies came in November 2008, though eight of those nine defeats since had come by a margin of less than 10 points.

Australia added debutant Sean McMahon and Ben McCalman to their back row for a game watched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and carrying extra spice with the two countries paired in the same 2015 Rugby World Cup pool and due to meet at Twickenham next October.

Wales made a perfect start when captain Sam Warburton made good ground in the third minute and when quick ball was recycled Webb dummied and sprinted away for his first Test try.

Halfpenny converted and Wales were soon on the attack again, forcing Australia to defend deep in their 22 before a penalty relieved the pressure.

Liam Williams' loose kick allowed full-back Israel Folau to show his running prowess and that set up a period of Australia pressure which Wales could not subdue.

Australia moved the ball quickly across their back line and skipper Michael Hooper broke Dan Biggar's tackle to find Folau with a try-scoring pass, Bernard Foley levelling the scores with a simple conversion.

That was Folau's 16th try in 26 Tests and his 17th was not long coming as he picked off Webb's pass and scampered 80 metres for a try which Foley converted.

But Wales hit back in a see-saw contest when North took Biggar's pass and beat Adam Ashley-Cooper with ease to charge 60 metres and send Cuthbert over in the corner.

Halfpenny converted to level the scores at 14-14 but the Welsh defence was soon breached again when the ball was turned over and Kuridrani exposed some weak tackling to score under the posts for Foley to convert.

The Wales full-back was injured in that turnover incident and left the action, but the hosts chose not to take advantage of a kickable penalty, instead preferring to go for the corner although the tactic came to nothing.

Wales opted for the same ploy on the stroke of half-time and this time it paid off with the ball switched to the middle, Warburton tapping and go from another penalty and Jones burrowing his way over for Biggar to level the scores once again.

Foley restored Australia's lead soon after the restart with the first penalty of the game after Wales were penalised for not rolling away at a ruck.

Halfpenny was off the field with suspected concussion and Wales suffered another injury when outside-half Biggar was forced off with a groin injury and replaced by Rhys Priestland.

Wales were enjoying plenty of possession and territory but Jamie Roberts was stopped on one bulldozing run and the Wallabies' defence stood firm as Phillips replaced Webb for the final 25 minutes.

Australia's ability to register points whenever they entered Welsh territory was proving crucial and Richard Hibbard was penalised for being on the wrong side of a ruck and Foley dispatched the kick from nearly 40 metres to put the Wallabies 27-21 ahead.

But Wales rallied again and North was held up over the line before Wales piled on the pressure at scrum-time right under the Australian posts.

Australia were penalised twice before referee Craig Joubert awarded a penalty try and Priestland's conversion took Wales into the lead for the first time since the opening exchanges. But the lead was short-lived as Australia showed composure to drive the ball upfield and into the Welsh 22 with seven minutes remaining, and when the time was right replacement scrum-half Will Genia found Foley for the outside-half to deliver a crisp drop goal.

Foley added another penalty with two minutes remaining to stretch Australia's lead to five points and Wales had lost their 21st consecutive Test against the big three from the southern hemisphere - 10 of them against Australia.

Israel Folau runs the length of the field to score his second try of the match © Getty Images
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