Rugby | Wales survive late Australia comeback to claim second win

Wales have beaten Australia 29-25 at Ajinomoto Stadium.

Warren Gatland’s men survived a superb comeback from the Wallabies to seal back-to-back wins in Pool D, a result which sets them up to top the group.

Wales amassed a 26-8 lead, but were eventually pushed all the way by the Australians.

A well-executed drop kick from Dan Biggar gave Wales the lead inside the first 60 seconds, and the Europeans also registered the game’s first try in the 12th minute.

Hadleigh Parkes rose highest to beat wing Marika Koroibete to Biggar’s high kick, before turning and planting the ball behind the try-line to make it 8-0.

Biggar duly converted to extend Wales’ lead to 10 points.

Australia halved that deficit in the 20th minute, with Adam Ashley-Cooper recording a try following Bernard Foley’s clever kick.

Foley missed his conversion, but made no mistake from a penalty eight minutes later to make it 10-8.

Rhys Patchell – who came on while Biggar underwent a head injury assessment – nailed two penalties in four minutes after the half hour mark, and Wales grabbed their second try in the 37th minute.

Gareth Davies intercepted a pass near the half-way line, and sprinted clear of the Wallabies’ defence to add another five points to Wales’ tally.

Patchell converted to make it 23-8 at the interval.

Biggar did not appear for the second half following his HIA, but Patchell proved a more than able deputy.

He split the posts with Wales’ second drop goal three minutes into the second half to extend the Europeans’ lead to 18 points.

Australia responded with their second try in the 46th minute.

Dane Haylett-Petty applied the finish to a well-worked Wallabies move, and Matt Toomua reduced the deficit by a further two points from the subsequent conversion.

Michael Hooper added another Australia try just after the hour mark, with Toomua converting to increase the pressure on the Welsh.

Toomua’s 67th-minute penalty drew the Aussies within a point of Wales – whose lead had looked unassailable early in the second half – but Wales had the last say, with Patchell’s 71st-minute penalty extending their lead to four points.

Wales now top Pool D on nine points after two games, three clear of the Wallabies in second place.

The win over Michael Cheika’s Australia is one which announces Wales as potential World Cup title challengers, and Gatland will fancy his chances against either France or Argentina should Wales top Pool D.