Michael Aylwin's match report
In the last few minutes the Scottish Rugby Union has announced that the former Scotland and Lions second-row, Doddie Weir, has died aged 52. Weir was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2016, and for the past several years had worked to raise awareness of the condition, and to generate research funds via a charity foundation, My Name’5 Doddie. RIP Doddie.
Michael Aylwin’s report on that wild game will be here shortly. In the meantime, it’s now England v South Africa … which you can follow here.
The ball was spilled in contact and Australia hoofed the ball off the field even faster than they’ll grab a beer after the game.
What a comeback. What silliness for Tipuric to trip someone up. What a preposterous last 20 mins!
FULL TIME! AUSTRALIA WIN!!
GOOD LORD ABOVE!
81 mins. Wales are probing in the Aus 22, up to 8 phases and nothing doing…
79m 58s. Australia are looking to play the game out but are penalised for sealing off! Wales will have one last lineout from 20 metres!
TRY! Wales 34 - 39 Australia (Lachlan Lonergan)
79 mins. They keep the ball in hand this time, and that man Nawaqanitawase is up the left again, cuts inside and offloads to keep the attack alive. The ball comes right and Hardy goes for an intercept, can’t grab it and the replacement Aus hooker can and runs in to score.
OH MY WORD!
77 mins. Australia have the ball just in their own half and attacking 13 men. Lolesio for some reason decides to start some tactical kicking back and forth. Eventually Aus end up exactly where they started.
YELLOW CARD! Ryan Elias (Wales)
And Elias is given his marching orders as well.
PENALTY TRY AUSTRALIA! Wales 34 - 32 Australia
74 mins. The reason the maul fell over is that Ryan Elias lay down on the floor and it fell over him, and you’re not allowed to do that. Ref Carley says it was cynical and denied a try, so he awards a penalty one instead!
73 mins. A solid maul from an Aus lineout on the Wales 5m line inches forward, leading to a pile of bodies falling over the line. I have no idea if the ball is down, and neither does the ref, so the TMO is having a look.
71 mins. It’s all Australia now, the latest attack has McDermott into a gap out left and dinking a kick forward for Nawaqanitawase to chase. Hawkins covers it, but the Aus winger spoils his attempt to boot clear and the visitors will have a scrum around the Wales 22.
69 mins. Given the history of these games, Wales fans will be starting to shift very uncomfortably indeed in their seats…
TRY! Wales 34 - 25 Australia (Mark Nawaqanitawase)
68 mins. From the lineout, there’s a first phase move that sees and inside pass to Nawaqanitawase who is on a beautiful angle at pace to score.
YELLOW CARD! Justin Tipuric (Wales)
66 mins. Pete Samu intercepts a pass in midfield as and he was about to gallop into open pasture 50 metres out, Tipuric sticks out his foot to trip him. Off he goes
65 mins. A catch and drive from Wales can’t get the job done as the ball is lost close to the line. Australia boot clear from the resulting scrum
63 mins. Wales have possession in the middle of the field and they move it right to Adams, up in the line. He drills a kick towards the touchline in the Aus 22 and Wright can do nothing except cover across and carry it into touch. Lovely kick, that.
Ken Owens is replaced by Ryan Elias
60 mins. McDermott builds the caterpillar at the back of the ruck, but then takes too long to kick which allows Beard to bear down on him like a toppling wardrobe and charge down. For a second it looks like Wales will gather it but it spills into touch.
TRY! Wales 34 - 18 Australia (Mark Nawaqanitawase)
57 mins. A solid scrum from Australia on the Wales 5m has the ball coming out clean. It moves left on a penalty advantage for Wales offside all the way to Nawaqanitawase who forces through Cuthbert to score in the corner.
Lolesio, on for Donalson, misses the extras.
54 mins. Anscombe is down looking in some discomfort after he put his right shoulder into a tackle and has clearly done himself a mischief.
Rhys Priestland is already on, so whatever comes of the medical review happening, his game is over. He’s up and walking off in a temp sling, shaking his head and we all hope this is not too serious in the long run.
Tate McDermott has replaced Jake Gordon for Australia
TRY! Wales 34 - 13 Australia (Rio Dyer)
53 mins. The latest catch and drive is this time held by the Aus forwards, so Wales go to the backs. The ball is first moving right before coming left once more to Anscombe who zips a lovely miss-pass to Dyer to ground in the corner.
Anscombe caresses another beautiful conversion from wide out.
51 mins. Another Wales lineout on the 22 is mauled with intent, which Australia impede illegally. On the advantage Anscombe sprays a cross-kick right that is too high for Cuthbert who watches it whistle over his head and into touch. Back we go the for penalty and Wales predictably go for the corner once more.
47 mins. Jake Gordon is back on from his sin-bin
TRY! Wales 27 - 13 Australia (Jac Morgan)
46 mins. Wales have an attack from the lineout, and Australia are offside. There’s a huge catch and drive and the maul pretty much sprints over the the line, allowing Jac Morgan to ground at the tail.
Shall we just give Player of the Match to him now?
YELLOW CARD! Tom Robertson (Australia)
44 mins. After the multiple scrum penalties at the end of the first half Ref Carley doesn’t see half time as a reset, so when Robertson wheels around he goes straight to his pocket.
Australian will have to play the next few minutes with 13.
MISSED PENALTY! Wales 20 - 13 Australia (Reece Hodge)
42 mins. It may have been just inside the Aus half, but that doesn’t stop Hodge and his foot cannon from giving it a go from the tee. It sails high and long and bounces back off the right post!
40 mins. Tom Wright gathers Anscombe’s restart and there’s some kicking that results in Alun-Wyn Jones being offside. Penalty Australia in their own half.
What a difference a week makes for Wales. A solid performance up front after a clunky start at the kick-off, plus some decent attacking shape in the backs has them up on points and enjoying the afternoon. Jac Morgan has been immense and Joe Hawkins has been unfussy in his proficiency on debut.
Australia, who admittedly look very ready for home at the end of a long year, rallied in patches, but look there to be be beaten for the home side.
HALF TIME! Wales 20 - 13 Australia
PEEEEEEEP! That’s yer lot for that half.
40+2 mins. Faletau picks and goes before popping to Hardy who drives over the line but is held up by Tom Wright.
40+1 mins. Australia have to survive a completed scrum before they can seek solace in the dressing room, but they give away ANOTHER penalty at next pack down.
39 mins. Wales take a 5m scrum from the pen and then win another two penalties in the subsequent scrums as Australia’s front row are unable to take the pressure.
YELLOW CARD! Jake Gordon (Australia)
36 mins. Lots of phases for Wales, all going to the right and looking like they were going not very far before a long Tipuric pass left releasesDyer into the space created by the earlier phases pulling in the defence. The winger steps inside as the defence comes across but he can’t stretch his arm to the line.
However, Gordon was offside as he attempted to spoil the ruck, it was cynical and Carley dispatches him to 10 minutes.
TRY! Wales 20 - 13 Australia (Folau Fainga'a)
34 mins. An ominous catch and drive by the Australian pack from the lineout oozes agonisingly forward, the Welsh defence unable to stop the progress. Fainga’a pulls off the back and falls towards the line and while the ground is a bit messier than it needed to be Ref Carley is happy to award it, and the TMO can find no reason he shouldn’t
31 mins. Phases for Australia around the Wales 22, they move it left and then back to the centre with the red defence holding up but not without giving away a penalty. It’s a kickable one, but Hodge puts it in the corner as they look to reel Wales in a bit before half-time.
28 mins. A chink of light up the left for Australia as Ikitau gets on North’s outside shoulder and finds Holloway on the touchline. The line is tantalisingly close but Adams comes across and grips an ankle on the full dive to drop the Aus man. Outstanding tackle.
PENALTY! Wales 20 - 6 Australia (Gareth Anscombe)
27 mins. Jac Morgan – yes, him again – takes a short pop off Hawkins – yes, him again – and rampages forward. This has the Aus defence all over the place and McReight infringes in the ruck.
Anscombe wastes no time in extending the lead.
24 mins. Jake Gordon has quick tap of an Aus penalty and races 25 metres into Wales territory, but his offload to Fraser McReight leaves the openside isolated and Wales clamp on in defence to win a penalty of their own. The ball is cleared.
TRY! Wales 17 - 6 Australia (Taulupe Faletau)
21 mins. Horrible curling overthrow form Folau Fainga’a gives Wales a scrum on the Australia 10 metre line that the Welsh pack start to move forward. Theres’s a penalty advantage as the Welsh backs try to capitalise with debutant Hawkins prominent, often playing first receiver and up flat to the line.
The ball is worked right with quick hands, including Dyer way off his wing, to Faletau who dives into the corner for a fabulous finish with two tacklers on him and only inches of touch to spare.
Anscombe creams a brilliant conversion from wide out.
PENALTY! Wales 10 - 6 Australia (Gareth Anscombe)
18 mins. Jac Morgan has been everywhere thus far, and his latest carry that busts over the gainline has the Australia defence not rolling away. Anscombe points to the posts and adds three from 35 metres or so.
There’s been some subs already:
James Slipper is off for Tom Robertson
Kieran Hardy replaces Tomos Williams
PENALTY! Wales 7 - 6 Australia (Ben Donaldson)
14 mins. Just outside the 22 and in front of left posts, the young stand-off gets three points from the boot.
11 mins. Wales’s attacking patterns are very predictable so far, and the Aus defence are largely containing them, it was only when Williams created a bit of chaos with his dummy that there was space to move into. Pivac will be happy his side is ahead, but some more threats in phased play still missing
TRY! Wales 7 - 3 Australia (Jac Morgan)
10 mins. On the latest attack, Tomos Williams dummies and goes from the ruck 20 metres out and manages to offload to Alun-Wyn Jones on his shoulder who suddenly has some space to run into and pops it off with one hand to Morgan who drives and stretches over the line with three tacklers on him.
8 mins. Alun Wyn Jones takes the ball at the tail and drop it to Faletau who is gathering pace on the peel run. He’s through one tackle and the next phase sees Lewis bump another few metres into the 5 metre before Tomos Williams fumbles his pickup at the base of the ruck.
Another unforced error, but that was better from Wales.
6 mins. Some possession in the Aus half for Wales is moved through the hands in a few phases, but it’s once again a little ponderous and allows Ikitau to swarm all over North who puts the ball down. But it was a knock on by the Aussie man!
Wales win the penalty from the scrum and will have a lineout deep in Australian territory.
PENALTY! Wales 0 - 3 Australia (Ben Donaldson)
3 mins. Wales have an Aus scrum to deal with on their own 22, and the green and gold pack splinter the home side twice, the second one resulting in a penalty after Gareth Thomas is folded by Allan Alaalatoa.
Donaldson calls for the tee and that’s an easy three from him and lead for Australia early
1 min. Ref Carley blows hard on his oboe of objectivity and the ball is sent long for Wales to cock up gathering the ball, Adam Beard letting it slip through his big mitts.
The teams are on the way out, Wales accompanied by the usual Metallica soundtrack, jets of flame and fireworks, which given the way they’v been playing is like me blasting Springsteen out while I fail to achieve 25 press ups.
Late team news dept!
Another late withdrawal from the unlucky Halfpenny
Warren Gatland is a pitchside pundit on the telly, dressed in a suit concept I can best describe as “Essence of Weetabix”, being badgered by Sarra Elgan about whether he’s coming back to Wales.
This is all happening while Wayne Pivac wanders about in the background observing his team warming up.
A worrying time for both coaches is considered by Michael Aylwin…
Lots to fret over if you’re a fan of these teams; why not share your worries or hopes with me on th’email or on th’internet via Twitter @bloodandmud
Both coaches are stymied in selection this week as the fixture falls outside the agreed international window.
Wayne Pivac has handed a debut at inside centre to young Osprey (and rhythm guitarist from the current tour line-up of The Doobie Brothers), Joe Hawkins. He’s a talented lad, who plays much of his club rugby at out-half, so a definite second-playmaker option for Wales. Elsewhere in the backs Leigh Halfpenny returns to fullback.
In addition to those not available due to window rules, Australia have an injury list so long and comprehensive that Dave Rennie has been looking to add Bluey’s dad to the squad as cover. Multiple absences result in Ben Donaldson at ten, Reece Hodge playing 12 and pretty much all new back five in the pack.
Wales: 15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. Alex Cuthbert, 13. George North, 12. Joe Hawkins, 11. Rio Dyer, 10. Gareth Anscombe, 9. Tomos Williams; 1. Gareth Thomas, 2. Ken Owens, 3. Dillon Lewis, 4. Adam Beard, 5. Alun Wyn Jones, 6. Jac Morgan, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Taulupe Faletau
Replacements: 16. Ryan Elias, 17. Rhodri Jones, 18. Tomas Francis, 19. Ben Carter, 20. Josh Macleod, 21. Kieran Hardy, 22. Rhys Priestland, 23. Josh Adams
Australia: 15. Tom Wright, 14. Jordan Petaia, 13. Len Ikitau, 12. Reece Hodge, 11. Mark Nawaqanitawase, 10. Ben Donaldson, 9. Jake Gordon; 1. James Slipper (c), 2. Folau Fainga’a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Nick Frost, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Jed Holloway, 7. Fraser McReight, 8. Langi Gleeson
Replacements: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Tom Robertson, 18. Sam Talakai, 19. Ned Hanigan 20. Pete Samu, 21. Tate McDermott, 22. Noah Lolesio, 23. Jock Campbell
Welcome to the Principality MalaiseDome is Cardiff, where Wales will take on Australia in the Underachievement Bowl.
What a year it’s been for these two, and not in a good way. An historic win in SA is among the highlights for Wales, but this was amongst losing 8 from 11 this year; and should Australia lose today that will be 10 in 14 – their worst 12 months for nearly 70 years.
Autumn Internationals are generally low stakes affairs in the grand scheme of things, and these extra rounds with missing players have even more of this stench. But, given the records above and both coaches sensing the impending danger of the Head of HR tapping on their shoulder to come to a meeting about their future, this one feels to have a bit more jeopardy than usual. A win here will calm the sack-chat a little bit and allow the victor to make noises about moving forward with positivity or some other word salad; but it will be better that the recrimination chat the loser will be engaged in.
Expect a close affair as matches between the two are often within a score. For a decade it was a late Australia score repeatedly splintering Welsh souls until the hoodoo was shaken more recently with some home victories. How both teams will want their best version of it today.