Wales lost a gripping match against Australia 26-30 in Cardiff, falling just short in their attempt at an epic comeback.
|Wales 26-30 Australia|
|North 2’, 58’||Tries||Lealiifano 18’, Folau 36’, Tomane 49’|
|Halfpenny 3’, Biggar 59’||Conversions||Lealiifano 20’, 37’, 50’|
|Halfpenny 11’, 17’, Biggar 31’, Priestland 68’||Penalties||Lealiifano 13’, 42’, 53’|
In what was a pulsating game of rugby, both sides had moments of inspiration, both dominated in spells, and the game built to a thrilling finish in front of the Millennium Stadium crowd.
Wales struck early, the irrepressible George North crossing for the first of two tries in the afternoon after just 69 seconds.
But Australia came to terms with the Welsh physicality and tries from Christian Lealiifano and Israel Folau propelled them into a narrow 17-16 lead at the interval.
The Wallabies then pounced early in the second half, striking what would be the decisive blow as Wales regrouped from fly-half Dan Biggar's sin-binning for a desperate covering tackle in the first half.
Lealiifano knocked over two penalties in between a converted score from athletic wing Joe Tomane.
Suddenly Australia's lead with 27 minutes to play was 30-16, but Wales slowly came back at them once again.
North added his second try, breaking straight through the middle, while Rhys Priestland's kick brought them closer still.
As inspirational fly-half Quade Cooper headed off for a dubious yellow card late on, it looked like Wales had the opportunity to turn defeat into victory. But the opportunity never quite came.