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The Day Rhys Patchell Decided “I’ve Got To Show I Can Control This Game”

Having delved into the 70s, 80s, 90, and early 2000s, the rugby re-runs come right up to date this evening when Wales v Australia at last year’s World Cup in Japan is re-shown by S4C in the company of Wales pair Ken Owens and Rhys Patchell.

The players join opera star Sir Bryn Terfel and Radio One’s Steffan Powell to mull over Wales’ tense victory on S4C’s Dyddiau Da. Watch the programme at 9.00pm on Friday 3 July, or on demand at S4C Clic. English subtitles available.


Pre-Australia match:

KO: We were confident that Australia would beat Fiji and we were confident we would beat Georgia, so we thought it would come down to our game against Australia to decide who would win the group. We’d beaten them in the Autumn so we were confident.


First Half


KO: Australia are such a talented team, and their biggest strength is moving the ball. They hadn’t had a great game against Fiji in their first match, so they made some changes against us. But I think they showed us a bit too much respect. We all know Australia play a high tempo game, moving the ball around quickly, but they picked a team that went a bit more direct and kicked for territory. I think they started the game a bit too conservative and it played into our hands.


RP: I remember the preparation work that someone like James Davies, Cubby, put in during the week, being an absolute nuisance, so that the boys had the best chance to prepare for the game. I remember him and Dillon Lewis in bibs all week, trying to jackal every ruck. It was carnage, but that’s what helped the likes of Ken, Alun Wyn, Tips the chance to look out for Pocock and Hooper, so that we got good ball. I think this is the game that those two had their smallest influence on the breakdown during the whole competition.


Wales score first try, Biggar kicks for Parkes to touch down in the corner.

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RP: That was great by Biggs, world class. Neil Jenkins is big on his attacking kicks and Dan made a really good decision there. Parksey beats Koroibete in the air and he dives over the line.


20 minutes – Australia respond with an Adam Ashley-Cooper try


RP: I’ve never felt comfortable against international team from the Southern Hemisphere because they have this ability to create something out of nowhere and put you under pressure and force you to make mistakes.


27 minutes – Biggar goes off for HIA, Patchell replaces him


KO: It was a good tackle by Dan, even though he went off for a HIA afterwards. He put his head where it hurts to make sure that they didn’t score the try. It was unfortunate that Dan went off, but Rhys came on and he was great. I think it was his best performance in a Wales jersey.


RP: I remember walking on the pitch with boys like Alun Wyn and Tips looking across, and I thought, ‘right, I’ve got to look like I’ve got this together here,’ even though my heart was racing and my stomach had dropped. I had to show that I was alright and that I could control this game.

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Patchell tackles Kerevi, who is penalised for his illegal hand-off. Patchell puts Wales 16-8 up with resulting kick


RP: I thought the tackle was fine. Shaun Edwards and Gats sat me down after the Ireland match, when I got another knock to the head because I was trying to tackle too low. They told me that I was too tall to tackle big boys low, so they told me to go for the ball and slide down, and Navs, or Ken or Tips to come in and clear up the whole situation.


I got a load of stick on Twitter because of this, most of it from Australia fans. Romain Poite was the making the decisions, there was no point for Michael Hooper to complain because it was doing nothing to change the decisions, and we got a penalty.


37 minutes – Gareth Davies intercepts and scores Wales’ second try


KO: That was a huge moment in the game. He does that a lot, runs out to put the nine under pressure and on those passes. He really opened the scoreboard up right on half time.


Half time – Wales lead 23-8

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RP: That was about as good a 40 minutes as you can hope for in international rugby. We had confidence but we also knew that was only half a day’s work. There was still 40 minutes to go, and we knew what was at stake for both sides.


I remember Dan telling me; (a) that I was staying on because he’d failed his HIA, and (b) that I was doing a good job and to keep it going. He gave me a pat on the back and into the changing room I went. I remember Gats and Shaun Edwards being excited about me doing what I’d said I’d do when I tackled Kerevi and come off the line, so I was happy about that. And I remember the last thing Shaun Edwards told me was ‘drop goals’. If you have a chance, just go for it.


Second Half – 43 minutes – Patchell kicks a drop goal


RP: It’s always important to score early in the second half, and we got three points, but unfortunately it didn’t kill the game. If anything it sparked Australia back into the game even more. It wasn’t the best drop goal I’ve ever hit, but it went over the posts.


Australia respond with two second half tries to make it 26-22


66 minutes – Owens comes off as Wales make a raft of substitutions


KO: I think at this point we needed more energy. You see Aaron Shingler, Ross Moriarty come on and they brought something different to the team.

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71 minutes – Patchell kicks Wales 29-25 ahead


RP: That may have been the last chance for us to score some points so it was important that we put something on the scoreboard and try and stop Australia’s momentum.


KO: It forced them to go for a try instead of a penalty or drop goal, which is vitally important.


Gats always spoke about the point of difference that you’d bring to a team, and in the last 10 minutes the players who came on showed their point of difference. Owen Watkin turned the ball over, he’s really good at doing that for the Ospreys. And Tomos Williams’ athleticism to keep the ball in and not give Australia a chance to attack with three minutes to go, I think those two moments won us the game in the last 10 minutes.


Full time – Wales 29 Australia 25


RP: That was my favourite moment of the whole game. When the hooter goes and Tomos kicks the ball off, just knowing that we’d won the game and that I could relax for second and take it all in. Those moments, when you know that the job’s done and that you know that it’s been a good day of work, you know you can enjoy the hour or two after the game.

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KO: It was huge, winning against Australia and giving us the chance to move ahead in the tournament. That was a big game for us, and to beat Australia twice on the bounce was great. That win opened up the tournament and gave us the tough game against France. We may have been lucky to win that game, but you create your own luck and we won and got to stay for the last two weeks of the tournament.


Watch S4C’s Dyddiau Da: Cymru v Awstralia 2019, at 9.00pm on Friday 3 July, or on demand at S4C Clic. English subtitles available.



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