Wales 40-6 Australia: Rugby World Cup 2023 – as it happened

Last modified: 09: 14 PM GMT+0

Gareth Anscombe and Jac Morgan shine as Wales hammer Australia in record victory to leave Wallabies on verge of early World Cup exit.

Rob Kitson’s report has landed. So I’ll say goodbye and encourage you to read it. What a night for Welsh rugby. What a disaster for Australia. Does this mean they’re out of the tournament? We’ll find out soon enough.


And now here’s Jac Morgan:

Words can’t really explain how proud I am for us to put in a performance like that. It’s been a tough couple of months and we’ve worked really hard, so that was massive for us.

Over the last couple of games, in areas we’ve played really well, but today our discipline was much better, which hasn’t put us under as much pressure. The crowd was amazing, it’s fantastic to see all that red in the crowd.

Gareth Anscombe was recognised as the player of the match. Here’s what he had to say:

Just absolutely delighted, so relieved. We knew they were going to be desperate. We talked a lot this week about family and the people we care about. We talk about the red wall and to concede only six points against Australia, just remarkable. Delighted for the boys

Dan Bigger means so much to this team, he’s a real spiritual leader. I knew I had to just come on and do my role and that was all I was focused on. The boys were really calm and we got off to a really good start. Our boys up front were outstanding, they dominated the set-piece and I was just able to keep rolling forward

Australia’s captain, David Porecki, is as glum as you’d expect:

Credit to Wales, they outplayed us tonight. I don’t have much to say, I’m embarrassed for the Aussie people. We were hoping to put a show on. It just wasn’t good enough. We’ve got to front up next week. This one hurts.

“Too early to tell [what went wrong]. We’ll do the review later. Just gutted at the moment, I’ve got to get round the boys and get ready for next week.”

Here’s Warren Gatland:

It was a pretty good performance. Our line speed needs to improve a little bit. I said in life you get what you deserve and we deserved to win tonight.

We know how much defence dominates. Not conceding a try tonight was fantastic. And scoring three tries.

[On Davies] He’s a fantastic person and individual. He showed today how he can defend and what he can do in the game. We’re blessed to have two quality 9s. We feel that Gareth starting puts pressure on the opposition. We’re pretty fortunate. We can enjoy tonight.

End of the road for Eddie?

“Hi Daniel, I think Eddie the Ego should resign and go find a Tier 2 team to coach. The Aussie players either can’t hear him or don’t like what he says.”

Something is clearly being lost in translation, Phillip Haran

Full-time: Wales 40-6 Australia

Jac Morgan holds up Vunivalu over the line and that’s the final act. Wales with a famous victory! They qualify for the next round and perhaps consign Australia to an early exit. What a performance. Dominant from start to finish. That is a chastening day for Australian rugby. Where do they go from here? Wales’ biggest win over Australia. A night that will go down in Welsh rugby folklore.

Wales' lock Adam Beard celebrates at the end.
Wales' lock Adam Beard celebrates at the end. Photograph: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images


80 mins: A penalty gives Australia a chance to set an attack from a line-out.

TRY! Wales 40-6 Australia (Morgan, 78)

The maul is over and the skipper has the try! He comes up beaming! Two wads of tissue in either nostril. Bloody and bruised across his face. He’s played every minute of this World Cup and he’s put in a mighty shift this evening. Anscombe misses the simple conversion but wow, just look at that score! Who saw this coming?

Wales' openside flanker and captain Jac Morgan scores a try.
Wales' openside flanker and captain Jac Morgan scores a try. Photograph: Sébastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images


77 mins: Penalty for Wales at the line-out. Anscombe down field. In fact that’s a great kick. Wales with the line-out five out.

75 mins: Now Australia have a penalty for a high tackle on Gordan. North the guilt party. Gordan kicks to the corner. Or at least he tries to. It’s too long and out of the dead ball zone. Australian fans have seen enough. They’re now flooding out the exit doors.

73 mins: Kerevi is blown for a deliberate knock-on. He was attempting to tackle so it might seem harsh, but the law is the law. Anscombe punts it out. Not long to go.

72 mins: Wales have a scrum after an Aussie knocks-on. This, by the way, will be Wales’ biggest ever win over Australia. And it’s no less than they deserve. They’ve dominated every facet of the match.

Drop-goal! Wales 35-6 Australia (Anscombe, 71)

If it wasn’t already, that confirms this one is over. Patient from Wales. With nothing on Anscombe, who has controlled this match since he came on for Biggar, slots another three points.


70 mins: Australia’s defence pushes Wales out of their 22. But the Welsh still have it. Eight phases in and they’re back through the guts with Faletau. Now Thomas and then Tomkins. Phase 11 with Faletau. Adams off the shoulder and then clearing out the ruck. Domachowski from short range. They’re keeoing the ball. Anscombe in the pocket…

68 mins: Wales come close. A few charges off the maul from the line-out but Australia hold their line. In fact, they pinch it back after Tomos Williams’ pass finds nothing but grass. Australia have to run it. But they lose it in contact. Dear oh dear. Wales with the scrum feed inside Australia’s 22.

67 mins: Another penalty against Australia. Bell, I think, got himself in the wrong space defending a Welsh maul.

66 mins: Australia have no choice but to run it from their own 22 off the scrum. It goes to Nawaqanitawase who finds a half gap but he can’t connect with Vunivalu from an off-load.

64 mins: Wales can’t make this stick. They knock-on after a phase off the top of the line-out.

63 mins: Wales put a few passes together and some strong carries gets the front foot ball that Tomos Williams needs to launch a big kick into Aussie’s 22. Nawaqanitawase fields, steps out of the 22 and hoofs it straight out of touch. Sums it up. Wales with the line-out in a great position.

61 mins: Australia keep some possession and they’re battering the midfield. Seven phases. It’s been an age since they’ve been in Wales’ half. Wales have it after Kerevi is held up and Welsh bodies swarm around the ball. Tomos Williams, on for Davies, with the stiff tackle.

Penalty! Wales 32-6 Australia (Anscombe, 60)

This is turning into a hiding.

59 mins: Australia’s scrum does hold but they make a mess of their exit. In fact they give the ball away and then concede a penalty on the edge of their own 22. Australia are disintegrating. They look like a team bereft of ideas or belief. Anscombe to hammer another nail in the coffin.

57 mins: Oh a forward pass douses an exciting Welsh move. Tomkins and North involved. Anscome fizzes one to Williams who then plays it on for Adams. But it’s marginally forward so it’ll be a scrum for Australia. Can they hold firm?

55 mins: Another superb box from Davies. He was moving in the opposite direction and hooked a kick into the corner from some distance. What a game he’s having.

54 mins: For the third time in a row, Wales win a scrum penalty. They’re munching the Wallabies front row.

53 mins: Nawaqanitawase knocks-on from the restart. Donaldson is hooked for Gordan. It really feels like Eddie is making things up as he goes along. No plan. No identity. No hope I’m afraid. Wales absolutely bossing this.

Penalty! Wales 29-6 Australia (Anscombe, 52)

They’re disappearing over the horizon now.

50 mins: Kick tennis between Williams and Kellaway ends with Wales winning the territorial battle. Kellaway’s kick skews off his boot. He’s had a nightmare few minutes. Wales have the penalty advantage. Kerevi with a high shot on Tomkins. Lazy more than malicious. Anscombe tries to find Rees-Zammit with a cross-kick but overcooks it. So he’ll take aim at the poles instead.

TRY! Wales 26-6 Australia (Tomkins, 48)

Anscombe chips over the top and Tomkins canters through the line and dives over under the poles. Excellent score! The Aussie fullback, Kellaway, was in no-man’s land but take nothing away from the Welsh there. They were slick off the line-out and then had front foot ball for Anscombe who could pick his moment and ther chase was perfect. Anscombe slots the easy two. This is a 20 point game now.

Wales' Nick Tompkins scores a try.
Wales' Nick Tompkins scores a try. Photograph: Laurent Cipriani/AP


47 mins: Wales play some pretty patterns off the back of the line-out. But it’s lateral. Australia defend well. Morgan with a carry. Faletau with a thrust of his own. Tomkins shovels it short for North. On they build.

46 mins: Wales win another scrum penalty. Davies goes down the blind and stabs a kick ahead and it results in a 50-22. Fantastic work from Davies. Not sure he meant that but it’s worked out well. Line-out for Wales.

45 mins: Porecki’s throw isn’t straight! My goodness they just can’t string two consecutive good things together. This is shambolic.

44 mins: Slick feet from Davies. He jinks around a couple of defenders. He’s having a great game. Anscombe launches a contestable kick which Nawaqanitawase fields to perfection. A lovely take. He also wins a penalty after Adams takes him out in the air.

Penalty! Wales 19-6 Australia (Anscombe, 43)

Anscombe stretches the lead. This is getting precarious for Eddie Jones now. Wales in firm control.

42 mins: Wales now with a scrum penalty. That was an area that was working for Australia in the first half. Now Wales wheel the packs around and get the pen.

41 mins: Wales have the ball after Australia can’t free the ball from a maul. Tomkins with the smart play to hold the ball up.

We’re back. Can Australia turn this around or will Wales hold out?

It’s been good fun. Wales for sure the better side. Australia can still win this if they can just make that final pass stick.

This is quite the match of sublime and ridiculous @danielgallan. Wales' opening try to blocked kicks, comical lineouts, and then brutal attack and defence. Australia look much better this week, and Wales surely can't rope-a-dope them all night. It was never going to be dull!

— Guy Hornsby (@GuyHornsby) September 24, 2023

Great line!

@danielgallan Eddie Jones is basically my 7 year old godson with a Lego set, constantly building but nothing recognisable ever comes out of it

— Tim T (@timthemonkey81) September 24, 2023

At 26 minutes it was 10-6 to Wales but Australia had a line-out seven metres out. Porecki threw an awful ball over the top and a few minutes later Wales slotted a penalty. That was the momentum shifter and I wonder if that’ll be the moment that consigns them to an early exit.

“If I was Australian after that penalty decision to go for touch and then to throw it back to Wales I’d go for a long walk and follow rugby league. Dreadful.”

Spot on, Tony Mason.

Half-time: Wales 16-6 Australia

Wales almost end the half with a try! It’s held up so that’ll be that. From the scrum they then get a penalty advantage and attack through Faletau down the right. North has it and steps infield, sucking in a defender. He passes to Rees-Zammit who also steps off his right foot before heading for the corner. North is there to help shive him over the line but Australia get enough bodies under the ball to prevent it being dotted down.


40 mins: Donaldson puts the restart straight out of touch. The wheels are coming off.

Penalty! Wales 16-6 Australia (Anscombe, 39)

Wales stretching away. Australia need to get a grip now or they could be packing their bags tonight.

38 min: A perfectly weighted box from Davies is hauled down by a leaping Adams. North then wriggles through a few tacklers. Anscombe with a short pass for Williams who is rocked. Australia think they’ve pinched it with Valetini over the ball. The ball was loose out the back but the Aussie No. 8 had to stay on his feet if he wanted it. Instead he fell over the ball. Can’t do that, mate. Penalty it is.

36 mins: Wales get a line-out going. It goes through the hands before Anscombe dinks a lovely cross-field kick to Adams. The Welsh winger catches but can’t stay in touch.

34 mins: Australia’s scrum has functioned well. A solid base allows Kerevi the chance to charge on the front foot and he gets over the gainline. Australia are building their phases. This is more like the Aussie rugby of old. Nope. Scratch that. Kerevi floats a pass straight out into touch.


32 mins: Some tidy work from Kellaway in the back field retains possession for Australia. They then kick down field and Nawaqanitawase chases well. But Wales are secure and then kick themselves. McDermott this time from the back of a long catepillar hoists a high box. Davies goes up to catch it but can’t. Nawaqanitawase with another swift chase put the Welsh scrummie off his rhythm. Solid work from the young Aussie winger. A good chase doesn’t have to end with blockbuster grab in the air.

30 mins: Hooper takes it into contact but three Wales defenders smother him and rip it loose. Australia looking disjointed out there.

Penalty! Wales 13-6 Australia (Anscombe, 29)

Australia had the line-out eight metres out from Wales’ line but the play ends with Wales taking three points.

28 mins: Wales are clean at the line-out and then have a penalty advantage. They can’t do much with it. Faletau picks and goes but the attack is lateral. Liam Williams does well to collect a slippery pass but nothin’ doin’. So they’re back for the penalty. Anscombe to extend the lead.

26 mins: What an awful throw from Porecki. It’s over the top and goes straight to Morgan. He then launches an absolute bomb of a kick and wins a 50-22. What a rugby player he is.

25 mins: Off the line-out, McDermott with a wonder off-load behind his back to Valetini. Leota down the tram makes about 15 metres. Australia building. Into the 22. Oh but Rowlands makes a fantastic steal. What a turnover that is. Oh, but hang on, Wales give away a penalty. What a mad minute of rugby. Donaldson kicks into touch.

24 mins: Australia win another scrum penalty. An Aussie front rower popped up but Francis didn’t keep square. Two in a row for the Wallabies pack at the scrum.

23 mins: Tomkins charges Donaldson’s kick and Welsh tacklers swarm. Australia keep control. Bell carries from short range. Arnold does likewise. Koroibete toes an ugly grubber forward. Rees-Zammit kicks as well and almost wins it back through sheer pace but Petaia cleans up. There’s a wrestle near the touchline. It ends with Australia getting the scrum feed.

Penalty! Wales 10-6 Australia (Anscombe, 21)

No mistake this time. A clean strike and just the right amount of draw has the ball sailing through the sticks.

Wales' fly-half Gareth Anscombe kicks a penalty.
Wales' fly-half Gareth Anscombe kicks a penalty. Photograph: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images


20 mins: Beard brings down the line-out and Wales get a good shove on the maul. They’ve now played three slick line-out moves. One led to a try. One led to a line break and now this maul has brought them a penalty. Anscombe will take aim agaib. Same distance but on the angle.

19 mins: Anscombe hits the post. It just curled a little too much to the left. Kellaway clears with a big swing of his boot.

18 mins: Hooper is a little over eager at the breakdown. That’s a coach killer. He sauntered round the side of the ruck and stuck his hands over the ball as Davies was about to play it. What was he thinking? Anscombe lines it up from about 40m out.

17 min: Wales win the line-out and exit but Australia are back at them. Patience and then Donaldson bursts through a half-gap. He has runners in support but can’t find them. Josh Adams times a monster kick down field and Australia have to mop up and dot down in their own goal area. Earlier, Anscombe is nailed by Kerevi.

16 mins: Donaldson plays a wonderful kick to the corner after some controlled work from the Wallabies. McDermott decided to hoist a contestable box rather than find touch and Australia won it back. They worked the phases until their fly-half opted to pin Wales back in their own 22.

Penalty! Wales 7-6 Australia (Donaldson, 15)

And again. Donaldson has brought his kicking boots with him.

13 mins: Huge scrum from Australia. They turn the Wlesh pack and force Francis to his knees. Penalty for the Wallabies.

Biggar out injured

That is not good news for Wales. 13 minutes in and the talisman is replaced by Anscombe.

12 mins: Wales over-throw at the line and Petaia snaffles the loose ball and runs towards the line. It gets messy and McDermott plays a delightful dink over the top. Wales knock-on so Australia have the scrum.

10 mins: Another raking box-kick clearance from McDermott gets it out to half-way. Wales change it up at line-out and play some neat passing close to the line. A toe ahead gives Donaldson some trouble. He spills it but not forwards so McDermott hoofs his second impressive box-kick in a minute.

Penalty! Wales 7-3 Australia (Donaldson, 9)

Australia on the board as Donaldson scores from right in front. Biggar is holding his shoulder. Anscombe was warming up on the side. Biggar will continue but he doesn’t look comfortable. One to keep an eye on.

8 mins: Oh they lose it two metres short. Bell I think with the final act. Kerevi’s power opened the gap and Arnold on the angle found more space. Rees-Zammit made the tackle that forced the knock-on. That was a try-saver. Still, Australia have the penalty.

6 mins: Australia’s line-out isn’t clean but they have it still. Nawaqanitawase makes a stiff carry up the guts. Wales are defending well and have now pushed them back to the 22. Koroibete charges. Both wingers coming off their wing looking for work. Now Valetini. Nawaqanitawase again. Kerevi puts in a strong hand-off. Penalty advantage for off-side.

5 mins: Australia launch an attack. Hooper charges through the middle with a strong carry. They have an advantage around the 22 for a high tackle but Slipper loses it in contact. Apparently loads of fans have yet to make it to their seat because of delays at the turnstiles. What a pity. Anyway, Australia nudge the penalty into the corner.

TRY! Wales 7-0 Australia (Davies, 3)

What a try!!! From the line-out on half-way, down the line and a ball back inside has Morgan through a gap. Davies on a superb inside line scores a classic scrumhalf’s try as he canters through under the poles. Biggar slots the easy conversion. Too easy for Wales. Where was Australia’s defence?

Wales' scrum-half Gareth Davies (L) scores a try despite Australia's full-back Andrew Kellaway.
Wales' scrum-half Gareth Davies (L) scores a try despite Australia's full-back Andrew Kellaway. Photograph: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images


2 mins: Good line-out from Wales. Down the line and Biggar finds a touch with a good kick into Australia’s 22.

1 min: Penalty for Wales straight from the kick-off. Australia infringe at the very first breakdown.

The teams are out. Nice to see both sides wearing their home strips. Australia in gold with green shorts. Wales in red with white trunks. Anthems underway. Almost there.


“It’s known and first five-eighth down this way. 12 is second five-eighth.”

That’s come in from Matthew O’Connor who has rightly put me straight. Apologies from a Saffa. Thanks Matthew. That’s been corrected down below.

Our man, Rob Cole, is on the ground in Lyon. Here’s what he thinks of a fire-up Wales and the wounded Wallabies.

You said it, mate

@danielgallan 2 historical giants of the game underperforming of late, 2 polarising head coaches under pressure WG less than EJ this should be ding dong battle. The Aussies are due a big win under Eddie, Wales still on course. Tasty Test Match incoming a kick or 2 between them

— John McEnerney (@MackerOnTheMed) September 24, 2023

Warren Gatland and Eddie Jones are good mates. But that won’t stop Gats from doing whatever he can to heap more pressure on his chum.

The Wales coach is expecting “one hell of a game”. I’m with him. I think this’ll be a ripper.

Eddie is doubling down. Because of course he is. But are you buying what he's selling?

I don't think I am. Not anymore. Here's my take on a man who seems to be losing control.

All eyes on Australia's 10

It’s a strange reality for a side that produced Michael Lynagh, Stephen Larkham, but Australia have serious problems at fly-half.

Carter Gordan was picked as the only genuine 10 in the squad of 33 at the expense of Bernard Foley and Quade Cooper but he now finds himself on the bench for this one. Instead, Ben Donaldson, more of a fullback than a first five-eighth, as some Aussies call it, will stand in the all-important position.

Australia: Andrew Kellaway; Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete; Ben Donaldson, Tate McDermott; Angus Bell, David Porecki (captain), James Slipper, Nick Frost, Richard Arnold, Robert Leota, Tom Hooper, Rob Valetini.

Replacements: Matt Faessler, Blake Schoupp, Pone Fa’amausili, Matt Philip, Fraser McReight, Nic White, Carter Gordon, Suli Vunivalu.

Game day squad locked in 🔒

🏟️ OL Stadium, Lyon
📅 Monday, 25th September, 5:00am AEST
📺 @StanSportAU @Channel9#Wallabies #RWC2023

— Wallabies (@wallabies) September 24, 2023


Big names return for Wales

Warren Gatland has recalled 12 players who started against Fiji in the opening round but were rested for Portugal. Only Taulupe Faletau, Louis Rees-Zammit and captain Jac Morgan hold on to their starting slots while Adam Beard will win his 50th cap for his country.

Wales: Liam Williams; Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Gareth Thomas, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis; Will Rowlands, Adam Beard; Aaron Wainwright, Jac Morgan (captain), Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Corey Domachowski, Henry Thomas, Dafydd Jenkins, Taine Basham, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Rio Dyer.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 𝐗𝐕 𝐂𝐘𝐌𝐑𝐔 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

👊 Your Welsh team to face Australia

💪 Ymlaen!#WelshRugby | #ViveLeCymru

— Welsh Rugby Union 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 (@WelshRugbyUnion) September 22, 2023


This is it. Do or die. Win and live to fight another day. Lose and become the first Wallabies coach to face a first round exit in the World Cup.

That’s the scenario facing Eddie Jones who, it was revealed this morning, held a secret Zoom job interview with a Japanese club just days before the start of the tournament. It’s just the latest scandal surrounding a coach who has fostered a siege mentality as prominent figures in the game have publicly questioned his decisions.

As for Wales and their boss, Warren Gatland, it’s been a much smoother build up to this crunch game. A hard fought win over Fiji means they can still afford to drop a game and qualify for the quarter-finals. Not that they’ll want to take any chances. A victory tonight will almost certainly see them top a tricky group and set up a relatively comfortable route to a semi-final.

With so much riding on this one it promises to be a belter.

It’s been a wild weekend of rugby with last night’s epic a major event so far in the competition. If this is half as good we’re in for a treat.

Kick off at 9pm local time/8pm BST.

Teams and further updates to come.


Daniel Gallan

The GuardianTramp

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