Australia show plenty to concern Ireland

Wales 28 Australia 33

Australia show plenty to concern Ireland

It was the perfect start for new Wallabies, and former Leinster, boss Michael Cheika. It was not always comfortable, and they were outscored by four tries to three, but Australia were unquestionably the better side.

Even without David Pocock, Wycliff Palu, Quade Cooper, plus Will Genia only fit enough for bench duty, Australia’s ability to create tempo troubled Wales at every turn. It is something Ireland will need to control at all costs.

Wales will say Israel Folau’s double and Kevita Kuridrani’s tries were self-inflicted, but they also had a lot to do with their struggle to cope with the speed of Wallaby possession.

It was a breathless encounter, the first-half saw the two sides share six tries.

Rhys Webb sniped over early for the hosts, with Alex Cuthbert and Alun Wyn Jones also getting over to match Folau’s double and Kuridrani’s score.

A second-half penalty try awarded after the Wallaby scrum, not for the first time in recent memory, crumbled looked to have set Wales up to end their southern hemisphere hoodoo.

But man of the match Bernard Foley’s assured drop goal and penalty as part of a personal haul of 18 points helped the Aussies over the line.

Australia were far from perfect. The scrum remains an issue and they were all at sea defensively for the first two Welsh scores.

But they are sure to be a more cohesive outfit when they face an Ireland side brimming with confidence a week on Saturday.

Returning to the land of his former employers will be special for Cheika, and scrum-half Nick Phipps only expects Australia to improve under his guidance.

“We still have a fair bit of work to do on the new game-plan and I think there will be more to come over the tour,” he said.

“Michael had that cheeky smile on his face after the game, but he knows the process after that, he knows what he wants to fine tune.”

Prior to his double in Cardiff Folau had not scored in four Tests, the longest drought of his international career.

But he proved his class, and Phipps rates the former rugby league and Aussie Rules star as the best player in the game right now.

He said: “Izzy has to be up top, he is incredible and he always is there for us. Even if he does not score he opens space up for other guys.”

Lock Alun Wyn Jones insists Warren Gatland’s men can turn their wretched record around when it matters. He said: “They do not know yet what we will be like at the World Cup, and what we will be bringing. They have had the winning habit against us but a one-off game suits us as much as them.”

nGloucester fly-half James Hook has been called into Wales’ autumn Test squad and will report for training today ahead of Saturday’s clash against Fiji. It follows an injury suffered by fly-half Dan Biggar on Saturday.

WALES: Halfpenny (Allen 36); Cuthbert, North, Roberts, L Williams; Biggar (Priestland 47), Webb (Phillips 53); James (Jenkins 56), Hibbard (Baldwin 70), Lee (R Jones 74); Ball (B Davies 68), AW Jones; Lydiate, Warburton (capt), Faletau.

AUSTRALIA: Folau; Ashley-Cooper, Kuridrani, Leali’ifano ((Horne 75), Tomane; Foley, Phipps (Genia 68); Slipper (Alexander 63), Fainga’a (Hanson 70), Kepu (Faulkner 74); Carter (Skelton 50), Simmons (Horwill 64); McMahon (Hodgson 74), Hooper (capt), McCalman

Referee: C Joubert (SA)

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