Wales have conceded the first match of finals weekend to Australia. The Reds had been hoping to claim a victory in the third place play-off to expunge the memory of their recent loss to the French, but a rousing second half performance from the Wallabies finally ended Wales’ run in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Australia claimed the first try of the match on the ten minute mark. Wales’ James Hook retaliated six minutes later with a successful penalty, for a scoreline of 3-7, a tally that would persist until the half-time whistle.
Injuries threatened to topple the Wallabies just half an hour into the game, after both Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper were taken off the field, with hamstring and knee ligament problems, respectively. The unfortunate duo was replaced with Anthony Fainga’a and Rob Horn. The changes meant that Australia had replaced much of their back line, within the space of a few minutes.
Wales failed to capitalise on the Wallabies’ confusion, and were, in fact, criticised for their performance, at the break. Fans have questioned the Welsh kicking throughout the World Cup, and this morning’s match heralded no improvements. Those following the rugby world cup betting will know how costly this has been.
Wales opened the scoring just after the whistle blew for the second half, but a counter-attack from the Wallabies quickly took the game out of Welsh hands. The score; 8-13, on the hour mark.
A slew of changes at the 64th minute saw Andy Powell, Ryan Bevington, and Lloyd Williams take the field, at the expense of Dan Lydiate, Mike Philips, and Paul James. Further substitutions occurred at the 71st, as Wales finally broke the scoring deadlock, when Lloyd Burns and Shane Williams were dragged into the fray. People following the Rugby World Cup tips will know the side could have done so much better.
The Aussies took what appeared to be an unassailable lead in the 74th, courtesy of a Ben McCalman try, but a incredible fightback from the Welsh at the death saw Leigh Halfpenny score a try, and Ryan Jones sink the subsequent conversion, for a score of 18-21, as the match drew to a nail-biting climax.
However, Wales’ slow start in the first half ultimately proved fatal for the Reds. The result means that the Welsh have now lost three games by a combined total of five points, with only their quarter-final defeat over Ireland to lift their spirits. Australia return home with the coveted consolation prize.