Beale strikes killer blow against Wales

The late withdrawal during the week of lock Ian Evans added further disruption to Wales’ injury hit team as the Blues’ Lou Reed was called into the starting team as a replacement against Australia.

Matters were made worse when in the third minute, fellow lock Luke Charteris got his head on the wrong side of a tackle. Clearly shaken, he received treatment but never played at his best for the rest of the first half.

It was a vastly improved display from Wales in the first half after a shaky opening ten minutes, and they drove Australia backwards with a stern defence. Great vision and passing from Priestland saw Alex Cuthbert break out of Wales’ 22 yet agonisingly he chose the outside line, having missed Faletau running up in support on the inside, and was tackled into touch.

 It was an exchange of penalties in the first half, with neither side getting enough possession in the right areas of the pitch. A great run from Leigh Halfpenny saw Wales’ closest chance at try as he kicked ahead, yet  Wycliff Palu covered back brilliantly to touch down ahead of the ever present Faletau.

Both Beale and Halfpenny missed shots at goal, and the visitors went into halftime with a slender three point lead, which went slightly against the run of play.

Ryan Jones took to the field in the second half in place of the still shaken Charteris. It was a concern for Wales now that they didn’t have a single regular starting second row on the pitch, and unsurprisingly their lineout started to wobble.

Time and again they won hard earned penalties and field position only to cough the ball straight back into Australian hands.

The second half never truly caught alight, yet Wales managed to edge ahead to a 12-9 lead through the boot of Leigh Halfpenny, and as their defence held strong, it looked like they might do enough to keep Australia out.

A late rally from the visiting side saw Wales on the back foot, when just 40 seconds from full time, messy ball was passed back into the 22 to fly half Rhys Priestland, meaning he couldn’t kick directly to touch. Instead Priestland looked to kick long, hoping to pin Australia back in their own 22 as the seconds ticked down.

Australia as ever looked to counter attack, and with a Welsh side out on their feet they targeted lock Lou Reed and despite Wales chasing back desperately, they managed to attack Wales on the outside to send Kurtly Beale over for the winning try. It was an agonizing stroke for Wales who yet again, for the third time this year, have now been beaten by Australia in the last minute of the match. Matters were made worse to see full back Leigh Halpfenny stay down injured in his last tackle of the game and he was stretchered off with what looked a serious injury.

Nathan Sharpe, playing in his final game for Australia having reached his 116th cap, stepped up to take the kick at goal for the conversion, in a fitting gesture and tribute from his teammates. The Welsh crowd disappointingly showed a distinct lack of grace in booing him, and it seemed a rather unfortunately fitting last act for what has been for Wales, a very dismal Autumn.

 

Full time: Wales 12 – 14 Australia

Teams

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Scott Andrews, Lou Reed, Luke Charteris, Aaron Shingler, Sam Warburton (capt), Toby Faletau.

Replacements: Ken Owens, Ryan Bevington, Samson Lee, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric, Tavis Knoyle, Dan Biggar, Scott Williams.

Australia: Berrick Barnes, Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Drew Mitchell, Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe (captain), Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polota Nau, Benn Robinson.

Replacements: Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Brendan McKibbin, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane.

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2 thoughts on “Beale strikes killer blow against Wales

  1. Olive Barnes says:

    Having been busy yesterday afternoon we sat down for an evening of rugby. We made the serious mistake of watching the England v ABs first. It was a mistake because, after that game the Wales v Australia was very dull fare indeed – I speak as a neutral in both these matches.

    But some observations
    Priestland played a much better game yesterday – well done to him,especially considering all the stick he has been getting.
    Last week I was surprised how slow Phillips was getting to rucks, had I not deleted the match immediately it might have been interesting to see how often someone other than MP had to pass out from the ruck becasue MP hadn’t arrived (I am not talking about when he was at the bottom of a ruck); this was was followed by Gatland’s comment about taking MP off at 52 mins because he was “blowing hard” and Gats saying he wasn’t fit. Given how many Welsh players are now in France, how might the WRU tackle the issue of fitness of their players before it becomes a problem? Or is it already a problem?
    Quite honestly, Siobhan, watching the game yesterday, and I accept that Wales played better than in the earlier AIs, it looked to me as if they really did not want to be there. (Mind you Australia did not look very interested either). Was this really a game too far? HEC matches are next weekend. England too had an “extra” AI. But the England players will go back to their clubs absolutely flying after yesterday’s game; how low will the Welsh players feel? And how much of an impact will that have on their region’s games next w/e?

    Finally, re Charteris’s injury. How often have we heard this Autumn about a player (not just the Welsh men) tackling with their heads in the wrong position? It may not have been any more frequently than usual, it just seemed that way. I am usually surprised when this happens at international level. Now, I know these games are played at a much faster pace than Rabo or HEC games, but even so. Tackling technique is a basic skill for rugby players. The penalty for getting it wrong is serious and with players getting so much bigger, the potential damage to a player can be so much more serious than in yesteryear. So is there an issue about lack of basic skills – I mean skills which have become so ingrained that by the time the player gets to this level they are second nature to them?

    • We saw last season first hand Olive what the extra international does to the regions at the Scarlets v Munster match!

      The players are on the end of effectively an 18 month season and it shows. mental fatigue if anything.

      And you have a point about basic skills. There were at least 5 Welsh players who got hurt by poor tackling technique this series. You’ve got to think that it’s because people go for a “hit” or a wrap around as opposed to a proper tackle.

      Basic skills were missing throughout most of wales’ play though from the offloading to the support lines, then again that might just be down to coaching style I don’t know.

      Either way, none of it made very pleasant viewing! (and i agree, it was indeed a very dull match).

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