Wallabies take bronze at Rugby World Cup

2011-10-21 10:04

Despite numerous injury setbacks Australia showed great composure under pressure to win a disappointing Rugby World Cup bronze final 21-18 against Wales today.

The Wallabies led 7-3 at the break.

Australia threatened early on but could not capitalise on their opportunities.

Fullback Kurtley Beale picked up an injury after 10 minutes and was replaced by Robert Horne, who slotted in at outside centre. Adam Ashley-Cooper moved to fullback.

Centre Berrick Barnes drew first blood when he ran a great angle from a pass from his flyhalf Quade Cooper. Barnes sliced through the Welsh midfield to score under the post. Winger James O’ Connor converted to put his side 7-0 up after 10 minutes.

The Wallabies were penalised at a scrum in the 18th minute and flyhalf James Hook opened the scoring for the Welsh.

In the 20th minute, the Wallabies suffered a huge setback when Cooper attempted what seemed to be a goose step and injured himself in the process. He was replaced by Anthony Faingaa, who slotted in at centre with Barnes moving to flyhalf.

The Welsh did not see much of the ball in the first half and could not get much momentum.

Three minutes before half-time, fullback Leigh Halfpenny had an opportunity to narrow the gap but he miscued a long-range penalty attempt to make the half-time score 7-3.

In the 45th minute, Rob Simmons replaced lock forward Nathan Sharpe, who was cheered off the field after playing his 100th test match for the Wallabies.

A moment of magic by the diminutive Welsh leftwinger Shane Williams in the 48th minute gave the Red Dragons the lead for the first time in the match.

Williams managed to get a boot to a loose pass after the Welsh turned the ball over at a ruck. He skilfully dribbled the ball forward and collected to cross the chalk. Hook failed with the conversion.

But the lead was short-lived, however, when O’Connor drilled a long-range effort from around 45 metres and coolly slotted another penalty a few minutes later to put the Wallabies back in front by 13-8.

Barnes split the uprights with a drop goal in the 68th minute to stretch the Wallaby lead to 16-8.

Replacement flyhalf Stephen Jones reduced the deficit to just five points when he goaled a penalty in the 70th minute.

The Aussies had a chance to put the matter beyond doubt when O’ Connor found himself in space.

He raced down the right touchline, fed the ball inside, but the Welsh defence held on. But is was not long before flanker David Pocock punched a hole in the Welsh defence and number eight Ben McCalman was on hand to put the matter beyond doubt.

The Welsh, however, fought until the bitter end and were rewarded with a consolation try.

Scorers: Australia – Try: Berrick Barnes, Ben McCalman; Conversion: James O’ Connor (2), Penalty O’ Connor (2); Drop Goal: Barnes.

Wales – Try: Shane Williams, Leigh Halfpenny; Conversion: Stephen Jones; Penalty: James Hook, Stephen Jones.

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