The Wallabies have topped Pool A of the Rugby World Cup after a hard fought 15-6 victory over Wales at Twickenham Stadium this morning.
It was always going to be an arm wrestle as both sides were fighting to finish first in the pool and Dan Biggar’s fifth minute set the tone for the rest of the match.
Both captain and coach were both impressed but remain modest about Australia’s defence, with Stephen Moore saying there was nothing complicated about their performance.
“The guys just did their jobs. It is not complicated,” said Moore.
Head coach Michael Cheika seconded those comments: “We had to show a different skin. There were plenty of imperfections again and it was 13 men only for eight minutes.
“If your intent is there sometimes it can happen for you. I’m very proud of the lads, it was a difficult situation.”
Bernard Foley, pictures above, converted three penalties to put Australia 9-6 in front at the break. Biggar missed a crucial shot at goal on the stroke on half time and they tide shifted from then.
Wales came out firing from all corners and Australia, at times, struggled to keep their opposition out. The job was made even harder when Will Genia and Dean Mumm were both yellow carded in the space of three minutes leaving Cheika’s with just 13 men on the field.
Despite the numbers being against them Australia were still able to hold out the barnstorming George North on the right edge as the game drew to a close. They were given just reward in the 73rd minute when Wales were penalised. Foley again added the extras to give the Wallabies a 15-6 lead with seven minutes left on the clock.
Alex Cuthbert was yellow carded late on for a deliberate knock on but it did not affect the result as Australia progressed to the Quarter Finals where they will meet Scotland. While Wales face the arduous task of going head-to-head with South Africa.
In other results England ended their disappointing campaign with a 60-3 victory over Uruguay. – Chris Matthews-Darby
Top photo from Rugby World Cup’s Official Twitter.