Saturday, November 28, 2009
The Wallabies came back strongly after their shock defeat at Murrayfield last weekend. Written off by their fans and media, the young side bounced back to beat Wales 33-12 at the Millennium Stadium.
It was the biggest home defeat of Warren Gatlands reign, and came shortly after he said he wants Wales to be in the top 3 of world rugby by 2011. Australia though, were the team that showed why theyre currently there, as they looked comfortable all match.
They got off to a great start with three tries in 16 minutes from Digby Ioane, James Horwill, and David Pocock. Wales werent helped though by the injury losses of Shane Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, and Matthew Rees.
Man of the Match Matt Giteau kicked 13 points and played a part in two of the tries, making amends for his vital missed kick last weekend. Tatafu Polota-Nau scored their fourth try in the second half.
Wales were booed off the field by sections of the 74 339 crowd, as they failed to create tries despite having one or two pretty good chances. Poor execution and decision making cost them dearly in the end.
For the first time in 11 Tests this year that Wales had leaked four tries or more, something that defence guru Shaun Edwards will need to reflect on ahead of the Six Nations. Gatland himself will also need to do a lot more thinking if he wants his side to be serious contenders for the World Cup in 2011.
"It's the most disappointing performance since I have been involved with Wales," Gatland said afterwards.
"Australia were the better team and deserved to win. They came here pumped up and dominated most facets of the game. They completely dominated the air, produced one of the best offensive displays from an Australian side, their scrum was strong and they were better than us at the contact area.
"But the four tries they scored came from our mistakes and turnover ball. We need to be more desperate as a team but today will be a huge learning experience for a lot of the younger players.
"It was a good lesson for us and we weren't good enough. As coaches we will be honest with ourselves but now it's about how we respond to the disappointment."
For the Wallabies, their tour could have been so different. The difference between two wins out of four and a Grand Slam was simply a last gasp try for Ireland, and a missed conversion kick against Scotland.
All in all, their media gave them a mauling over the last week, but this young side have shown that theyve got it in them to dig deep when needed, and will take a lot of positives away from a tour that they no doubt learnt a lot from.