Wales' Jonathan Davies and Liam Williams. Pic: Simon King/Replay Images.

It’s Autumn . . . And Wales Finally Turn Over A New Leaf

The leaves still fell from the trees, the clock went back its prescribed hour, but for once Wales have not lost to Australia in the autumn.

A first victory for 10 years and 13 matches may not have been by a decisive margin, and it may have been tryless, but that might make the 9-6 victory taste all the sweeter.

So often in this fixture it has been Australia who have edged it, narrowed their eyes and narrowed the scoreline in their favour. It was a familiar script.

But a decade of tight finishes that always went the same way has been reversed – as it should have been between two teams who have been travelling in different directions all year.

Wales have now won seven matches in succession for the first time since 2005. The Australians have lost 10 of their last 13 Tests since losing in Cardiff a year ago.

It would be easy to say Wales have overcome a psychological barrier, except that no such barrier existed. The 13 matches were not lost through lack of belief, but through lack of ability. When it came to the crunch, the best team had won.

Dan Biggar of Wales. Pic: Simon King/Replay Images.

It was the same this time. Australia should have no complaints. They were shackled and hounded, pegged back for long periods, and the side with the crucial edge in physicality in the tackle and at the breakdown was Wales.

Even a jaw-droppingly poor kicking display by the normally faultless Leigh Halfpenny could not deny Wales. It’s a measure of their depth these days that a kicker of the quality of Dan Biggar could come off the bench to win the contest, when it seemed the Wallabies might escape with a draw.

They didn’t and Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones admitted: “It has been a long time.

“Someone reminded me I was the sole survivor from the win in 2008 and that shows how old I am. I am really pleased for the squad. We have lost by many a fine margin, but today we will be honest and say we won by a fine margin as well.

“I’m proud of the boys because we’ve been gracious in defeat for a long time and we can make sure we can be gracious in success.

“Dan is a competitive animal and he probably wouldn’t have wanted it any other way that for it to come down to the wire and then come on and do his job.

“Part of me says this doesn’t have any relevance for the World Cup. There are a lot of games to go before then and there.

Alun Wyn Jones of Wales. Pic: Simon King/Replay Images.

“We still have a huge amount of admiration and respect for the Australian side on the back of the win rate they’ve had against us.”

Man of the match Justin Tipuric said: “It’s obviously a big result for us. We’ve wanted this for a while and we’ll take any win whatever way it comes and be happy with it.

“In the past we have had many losses against them, so it’s nice to finally get a win over Australia. That’s seven wins in a row and we are building some nice momentum.

“There were two great defences out there. We pride ourselves on our defence and that’s what won us the game today.”

Australia captain Michael Hooper said: “It hurts. Our preparation was really solid this week and I thought our defence was great tonight.

“We were able to repel a lot of what the Welsh threw at us, but credit to them they stuck at it really strong.

“It has been a long time jinx playing us and you could see how happy they were to get on top of us. It was a real grudge match and a real Test match. Congratulations to Wales, but it really hurts.

“We will re-group again. We have got two more games to play on this trip and a hell of a lot to play for each week. This really hurts and I back the coaching group and the players to turn this into winning results.”


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