Wallabies comeback bid falls short in narrow defeat to Wales in Tokyo

· Rugby World Cup
by Rugby Australia

The Wallabies have fallen to a narrow 25-29 Pool D defeat at the hands of Wales in their second Rugby World Cup 2019 clash in Tokyo on Sunday.

The men in gold battled back after falling behind by 18 points early in the second half to close within a point of the Welsh with 12 minutes left to play, but their brave comeback bid fell just short.

Adam Ashley-Cooper, Dane Haylett-Petty and skipper Michael Hooper all crossed the tryline as the Wallabies scored three tries to Wales' two, with the boot of replacement flyhalf Rhys Patchell ultimately proving the difference between the two sides.

The defeat leaves the Wallabies needing victories over Uruguay and Georgia in their final two pool matches to qualify for the knockout stage.

Wales struck first within the opening minute of play after they turned the ball over off the kick off to set up a drop goal by flyhalf Dan Biggar.

Biggar was back in the action at the 13th minute, executing a perfect crossfield kick which was taken and put and down in the corner by a leaping Hadleigh Parkes.

The Wallabies mirrored the Welsh effort with their own try from a crossfield kick when Ashley-Cooper swooped on a Bernard Foley kick at the opposite end of the ground.

Both sides traded penalty goals but then, on the stroke of halftime, Welsh scrumhalf Gareth Davies bolted off the defensive line and plucked a Will Genia pass out of the air and ran it back 50 metres to score. The play went unchecked by the officials, and Wales went into the dressing rooms up 23-8.

Rhys Patchell, who replaced Biggar midway through the first half, stretched the lead to 18 points with a drop goal in the 44th minute but moments later the Wallabies kicked into gear and took control of the contest.

Wallabies Coach Michael Cheika made the key change at flyhalf with Matt To'omua coming on and making an immediate impact, busting the line to set up Haylett-Petty's try just three minutes later.

The Australians went on to dominate the next 15 minutes, battering the Welsh line until eventually they cracked again when Hooper dived over off the pick and drive to score under the posts.

A To'omua penalty goal in the 68th minute drew the Aussies within a point, but their momentum flamed out when they were penalised at a lineout moments later allowing Patchell to slot another three points at the 72-minute mark.

An intense final 8 minutes came to an end when the Wallabies were evenutally turned over on attack as the clock ticked past 80.

Wallabies 25 (Adam Ashley-Cooper, Dane Haylett-Petty, Michael Hooper tries; Matt To'omua 2 cons; Bernard Foley, Matt To'omua pens) defeated by Wales 29 (Hadleigh Parkes, Gareth Davies tries; Dan Biggar, Rhys Patchell cons; Rhys Patchell 3 pens; Dan Biggar, Rhys Patchell drop goals)

Wallabies

1.Scott Sio 2.Tolu Latu 3. Allan Alaalatoa 4.Izack Rodda 5.Rory Arnold 6.David Pocock 7.Michael Hooper (c) 8.Isi Naisarani 9. Will Genia 10.Bernard Foley 11.Marika Koroibete 12.Samu Kerevi (vc) 13.James O’Connor 14.Adam Ashley-Cooper 15.Dane Haylett-Petty

Reserves:

16.Jordan Uelese 17.James Slipper 18.Sekope Kepu 19.Adam Coleman 20.Lukhan Salakaia-Loto 21.Nic White 22.Matt To’omua 23.Kurtley Beale

Wales

1.Wyn Jones 2.Ken Owens 3.Tomas Francis 4.Jake Ball 5.Alun Wyn Jones 6.Aaron Wainwright 7.Justin Tipuric 8.Josh Navidi 9.Gareth Davies 10.Dan Biggar 11.Josh Adams 12.Hadleigh Parkes 13.Jonathan Davies 14.George North 15.Liam Williams

Reserves:

16.Eliiot Dee 17.Nicky Smith 18.Dillon Lewis 19.Aaron Shingler 20.Ross Moriarty 21.Tomos Williams 22.Rhys Patchell 23.Owen Watkin

Wallabies substitutions

44 mins - To'omua for Foley, 47 mins - Beale for Ashley-Cooper, 53 mins - White for Genia, 62 mins - Slipper for Sio, 62 mins - Kepu for Alaalatoa, 62 mins - Coleman for Arnold, 66 mins - Uelese for Latu, 68 mins - Salakaia-Loto for Naisarani