Wales 29-28 Australia: Autumn Nations Series – as it happened

Last modified: 08: 09 PM GMT+0

Wales need last minute penalty to overcome fourteen-man Wallabies

Michael Aylwin was at the stadium, read his match report:


Wayne Pivac is having a chat

“I thought the boys had done well enough at 23-13, but we let them back in and some mistakes crept in. We’ve learned a lot about players who wouldn’t be in the squad without all our injuries so that’s been a good thing for the team. The young guys would’ve got a lot out of the series.”

James Slipper, Wallaby Captain.

“Lack of discipline really hurt us. In Test matches you just can’t win when you put yourself under that much pressure. Our plan coming into the game was to start well, but then we lost our No 8. But we put ourselves in a position to win that game, and I couldn’t be more proud. It’s been a long year for us, we’ve been on the road since June and the boys will be happy to get home.”


Ellis Jenkins, the winning captain, speaks:

“We were probably more relieved than celebratory to be honest. I’m not sure why we make such hard work for 14 men, we just try to carry on playing but probably didn’t do that as well as we could’ve.”


Taine Basham is Man Of The Match.

He says: “I’m proud we stuck in and didn’t give up. We didn’t take enough opportunities, it should have been a ten point game really. We’ve beaten two of our 2023 World Cup opponents, which is a positive Autumn and I’m going to keep learning.”

The young back row made 19 tackles today, he’s been the find of the series for Wales.

Australia’s fly-half James OConnor (C) is challenged by Wales’ flanker Taine Basham (left) and Wales’ centre Ulisi Halaholo.
Australia’s fly-half James OConnor (C) is challenged by Wales’ flanker Taine Basham (left) and Wales’ centre Ulisi Halaholo. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images


FULL TIME! Wales 29 - 28 Australia

PEEEP-PEEEP! Australia are devastated, Wales are delighted.

PENALTY! Wales 29 - 28 Australia (Rhys Priestland)


Wales’ Rhys Priestland kicks a penalty to win the match.
Wales’ Rhys Priestland kicks a penalty to win the match. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters
Wales’ Rhys Priestland (bottom) is congratulated by team-mate Uilisi Halaholo after scoring the winning penalty.
Priestland (bottom) is congratulated by team-mate Uilisi Halaholo after scoring the winning penalty. Photograph: David Davies/PA


80+1 mins. Wales are up to 19 phases of repelled carries, the latest being Christ Tshiunza held up! But there was an advantage being played and Rhys Priestland will have a kcik to win it...


79 mins. Gareth Davies gallops into the Australia 22, but he’s hauled down. The attack is set up for endless carries for the Wallaby line..

PENALTY! Wales 26 - 28 Australia (Kurtley Beale)

78 mins. Under a chorus of boos, Beale cannons it forty-odd metres to put his side in front with minutes left!

Australia’s Kurtley Beale celebrates scoring a penalty.
Australia’s Kurtley Beale celebrates scoring a penalty. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters


77 mins. Wales have a bit of ball, but the standard pattern is to throw a long pass to Priestland standing very deep and pass it through hands. The Aussie defence simply walk forward as there are tricky patterns to confuse them in any way.

Soon after, Wales are penalised for holding on in fron of the post and just inside the home side’s half.

More Subs.

Tate McDermott for Nic White
Lalakai Foketi for Hunter Paisami

Elliot Dee for Ryaan Elias
Gareth Davies and Rhys Priestland for Tomos Williams and Dan Biggar.

TRY! Wales 26 - 25 Australia (Filipo Daugunu)

71 mins. The hugely impressive Hunter Paisami breaks in midfield, steps around Williams, but is chopped down by the scrambling McNicholl. But Wales’s defence is low on number and the Wallabies work it left through hands and Filipo Daugunu scores.

Wallabies wing Filipo Daugunu dives over to score a try in the corner.
Wallabies wing Filipo Daugunu dives over to score a try in the corner. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

James O’Connor bounces his conversion off the post.

It’s a one point game. Strap yourselves in!


68 mins. This could be the stupidest penalty I’ve seen since, well, since the last one. Australia have Wales pinned in the corner, struggling to recycle and clear, and Will Skelton just walks around the ruck and jumps on Tomos Williams.

Honestly, it’s hard to overstate what a brainless action that is at this stage of the match and in that part of the field. Wales clear upfield.

Australia Sub

Lachlan Swinton is on for Pete Samu

PENALTY! Wales 26 - 20 Australia (Dan Biggar)

65 mins. Dan Biggar, limping a bit after a collision, doesn’t let that affect his accuracy and he continues his 100% record for the day.

TRY! Wales 23 - 20 Australia (Nic White)

62 mins. Australia have been on top since the daft Wales yellow card. In their latest phase they go over the top in the lineout to Paisami, then it’s fed left to Beale who steps through the line. He pops the ball inside to Wright, who finds White in support to score under the posts.

Wallabies scrum half Nic White is congratulated after scoring the second Australia try.
Wallabies scrum half Nic White is congratulated after scoring the second Australia try. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

A bloody wonderful try, quite frankly.

O’Connor converts.


YELLOW CARD! Gareth Thomas (Wales)

In an Abe Simpson in the brothel GIF moment, Gareth Thomas is off the field very soon after entering it.

57 mins. Wales have a promising attack and a fast ball ruck is ruined when Gareth Thomas throws himself, shoulder first, at Alaalatoa lying on the ground. The ref and TMO are taking a look at this, and Alaalatoa’s potential high tackle on Basham to start with.

It looks like Thomas could be saved because his mad and stupid swinging arm wasn’t accurate enough to connect cleanly with the Aussie prop’s head.

It was, by any measure, a pointless and dangerous action from the Wales sub.


56 mins. Ryan Elias’s lineout throwing is losing a little focus and the latest is stolen on halfway. With the possession the Wallabies go left through hands that allows Ikitau to slip Halaholo and feed Paisami to drive into the Wales half.

Liam Williams does a great job in the scramble to force a spill from the Aus attack.


Louis Rees-Zammit is off for Johnny McNicholl
Wyn Jones and Tomas Francis are replaced by Gareth Thomas and Dillon Lewis.

Rory Arnold is off, Will Skelton is on for Australia


51 mins. Halaholo messes up taking the restart and then Wales are offside. This leads to a period of possession for the Wallabies in the home 22 which results in a lineout close to the Wales line in the right corner. The visitors catch and drive but Wales do enough to stop it then hold them up to win the turnover when the maul hits the deck.

Wales will have a scrum on their own five-metre line.

TRY! Wales 23 - 13 Australia (Nick Tompkins)

48 mins. This is a very odd one. Nick Tompkins is in between Beale and Wright and sticks his arm out. The ball hits his arm and then the deck, everybody stops but the ref shouts “backwards!” so Tompkins picks it up and runs in unopposed while Australia are a mixture of bewildered and fuming.

Nick Tompkins of Wales breaks through to score a try.
Nick Tompkins of Wales breaks through and heads towards the posts ... Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Wales’ Nick Tompkins scores a try.
Tompkins touches down between the sticks. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Reuters

TMO takes a look and, wouldn’t you know it, it did go backwards. Try given, Biggar converts.


46 mins. Some decent possession from the Wallabies probes the Wales defence, but the home side hold their shape and eventually force a kick to touch. Wales win the ball on their own 22 and clear.

43 mins. Strong start from Wales, moving the ball easily left and right and getting some offloads away with Liam Williams prominent joining the line. But the ball is stripped by Australia and cleared before Ryan Elias throws a squint lineout.

Latu and Tupou are off for Folau Fainga’a and Allan Alaalatoa


Dan Biggar kicks us back into action.

If nothing else, Wayne Pivac continues his happy knack of somehow having opposition players red-carded for doing something dangerous.

Even with that, Wales remain only three up and Australia continue to cause problems with the ball. However, the Wallabies issue with giving away endless penalties added to the player numbers disadvantage surely means this is there for the taking for the home side.

HALF TIME! Wales 16 - 13 Australia

40 mins. Off the latest attack attack Biggar sends it left to Josh Adams who runs in behind but it stopped by Tom Wright brazenly grabbing his collar from behind. On the advantage Halaholo fires a beautiful miss-one pass to Basham but he can’t break away.

From the lineout Wales can’t secure possession and after Australia clear Dan Biggar hacks it out to end the half.

PENALTY! Wales 16 - 13 Australia (Dan Biggar)

38 mins. The fly-half puts his side back in front.

37 mins. Halaholo has his first carry of the game and his steps and jinks around Ikitau and Beale. A wonderful little run and Tupou is offside in the retreating defence and the big prop is also limping a fair bit. He’s going to try to walk it off while Biggar tees up this penalty.

35 mins. A period of each side probing with kicks ends as O’Connor overcooks a 50-22 attempt and send it out touch-in-goal. Wales will have a scrum from where he kicked it, back in the Aus half.


32 mins. It’s even better for Australia as Wyn Jones is penalised and O’Connor kicks it as far as he can to clear his lines. Kellaway collides with Adams in the air and has come off worse as he’s down and not looking comfortable. The ref considers the Wallaby wing has overrun it, so it will be a Wales penalty in their own half when play resumes.

Tom Wright will replace Kellaway.

30 mins. From the restart, Tupou is penalised for holding on as Ellis Jenkins clamps onto him. Biggar sends the ball to the corner, but the maul from the lineout crumples and the ball is stuck in there leading to Australia winning the scrum.

I imagine the Wallabies will reset this as much as they can as Beale is due back on in a couple of minutes.

PENALTY! Wales 13 - 13 Australia (James O'Connor)

27 mins. As has happened often this Autumn, Wales struggle to stay onside when under pressure in their own 22. O’Connor takes all the time he’s allowed to bring his side level.


Adam Beard will not return after his HIA, so Ben Carter is on permanently.

TRY! Wales 13 - 10 Australia (Ryan Elias)

23 mins. The Wales forwards set up as if the catch and drive is coming from the lineout, but the ball is popped to Tomos Williams looping around to the blind side who feeds Elias to score in the corner.

Wales’ Ryan Elias scores a try.
Wales’ Ryan Elias scores a try. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters
Wales’ hooker Ryan Elias (second right) celebrates with teammates after he scores a try.
Elias (second right) celebrates with teammates after his try. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

Biggar makes a fabulous kick from the touchline


YELLOW CARD! Kurtley Beale (Australia)

22 mins. Nick Tompkins drifts outside and looks to backhand offload to Rees-Zammit. The ball doesn’t reach the winger but that’s because there was a deliberate one-handed knock-on from Beale. He’s off and Australia will have ten minutes with thirteen men.

21 mins. Wouldn’t you know it after my snarky preamble this is turning into a very good game with some good attacking. This time it’s Wales who go via a Biggar delay pass that puts Ellis Jenkins into the open. The ball is recycled and kicked left for Rees-Zammit to chase but Nic White just beats him to it.

PENALTY! Wales 6 - 10 Australia (James O'Connor)

18 mins. A huge carry from Tupou after a lovely Slipper offload puts Australia back into the Wales half and at the breakdown the home side have little discipline. James O’Connor wastes no time extending the visitors’ lead.

Great response.

Lots of chat on comms about how Valetini wouldn’t have meant to do that and how he’s not an nasty player etc. But that’s all irrelevant as he should be hitting low and simply not tackling like that.

PENALTY! Wales 6 - 7 Australia (Dan Biggar)

16 mins. Biggar kicks the resulting penalty.

RED CARD! Rob Valetini (Australia)

15 mins. Wales have their first real platform of the game from a lineout on the Wallabies 22. Adam Beard carries the ball up and takes a head-on-head collision with Rob Valetini. Valentini was very upright, he was in at speed and the Ref cannot see any mitigation for the Aussie 8.

Beard is very, very tall so to catch his head you’re technique has to be pretty bad.

Beard himself is off with blood coming from his head.

Australia’s Rob Valetini (left) tackles Wales’ Adam Beard, resulting a red card.
Australia’s Rob Valetini (left) tackles Wales’ Adam Beard, resulting a red card. Photograph: David Davies/PA
Wales’ Adam Beard, middle, leaves the field after a head on head contact in a tackle with Australia’s Rob Valetini.
Wales’ Adam Beard, middle, leaves the field after a head on head contact in a tackle with Australia’s Rob Valetini. Photograph: Rui Vieira/AP


13 mins. The Australian scrum is getting much of the early nudge on as Wales’s set-piece woes continue. They drive the home pack backwards and win a penalty to set up another attack, but Beale is isolated out wide and Tompkins wins a breakdown penalty.

9 mins. Australia have a scrim on halfway after Taine Basham knocks on when ripping the ball in the tackle and it’s solid and moved wide left on first phase. Wales contain it but the Wallabies continue to work the blind side, but it comes to a halt when James Slipper is penalised for a neck roll on Basham. The Dragons back row is putting himself about early.


PENALTY Wales 3 - 7 Australia (Dan Biggar)

5 mins. Well, that’s a great start by Australia. A varied attack featuring power and some nice touches that Wales had very little answer to. But, directly from the restart Izack Rodda obstructs Josh Adams.

Utterly daft penalty and Biggar makes them pay.

TRY! Wales 0 - 7 Australia (Andrew Kellaway)

3 mins. A chip in behind from O’Connor is snaffled by Paisamion the bounce and this puts the Wallabies on the attack in the Wales 22. They work the phases and are up to double-figures and on a penalty advantage Paisami slides a kick towards the line for Kellaway to gather and score.

Australia’s Andrew Kellaway goes over to score.
Australia’s Andrew Kellaway goes over to score. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Reuters

James O’Connor slots the extras.


Kick off!

Wales receive the ball and clear it back upfield.

Flames, disco lights and Metallica fill the stadium as Wales emerge from the tunnel.

“Off to never-never land” is a strange lyric to get yourselves pumped for a game, but each to their own.

While you have a few minutes..

Michael Aylwin has higher hopes of the game than I, so maybe you should take him some his yin to my yang by reading this.

I’m sure you all have opinions and I for one would love to hear them. Send them all via email or tweet.


Seven changes in Wayne Pivac’s line-up from Fiji. In the backs, Josh Adams is back on the wing, Uilisi Halaholo is in the centres and Tomos Williams reclaims the scrum-half shirt. In the pack there are returns for Wyn Jones, Tomos Francis, and Aaron Wainwright, while Seb Davies is promoted from the bench.

Captain and World Player Of The Year nominee Michael Hooper is a huge injury loss for Australia; Pete Samu replaces him in the back row. James Slipper will take over as captain and will be joined by new starters Latu and Toupous to make up the front row. In the backs, Filipo Daugunu replaces Tom Wright on the wing.

Wales: Liam Williams; Louis Rees-Zammit, Nick Tompkins, Uilisi Halaholo, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Seb Davies, Ellis Jenkins, Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Ben Carter, Christ Tshiunza, Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland, Johnny McNicholl.

Australia: Kurtley Beale; Andrew Kellaway, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Filipo Daugunu; James O’Connor, Nic White; James Slipper, Tolu Latu, Taniela Tupou, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Rob Leota, Pete Samu, Rob Valetini.

Replacements: Folau Fainga’a, Angus Bell, Allan Alaalatoa, Will Skelton, Lachlan Swinton, Tate McDermott, Lalakai Foketi, Tom Wright.


Roll up! Roll up! Come and grab your tickets for the Underwhelming Cup!

Gasp! As you see set pieces crumple!

Marvel! At the disjointed nature of the attacking patterns!

Mutter under your breath! As another penalty at the breakdown is given away!

All this and more, here in Cardiff today.

Of course, it may not go that way and both teams will be aching with desire for that not to be the case. But on evidence thus far in the Autumn, this is what awaits us. Maladroit games are not necessarily bad ones for us watching as they can be frenetic and dramatic, but Wayne Pivac and Davie Rennie will want some significantly better quality than what has been tipped out of their teams’ performance buckets up to now, especially after last week.

Cue a magnificent high quality game, and me receiving endless “your preamble aged well” comments. Australia don’t have to look that far back to find some very good performances from the summer; with Wales it’s a bit more tricky as even their own supporters grudgingly accept the JamSlam nature of their 2021 Six Nations victory.


Lee Calvert

The GuardianTramp

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