Courtney Lawes crunches Charlie Hodgson


Closing montage from Heineken Cup final


The Top 5 French Flair moments


Carlos Spencer & Stephen Larkham fight


Japanese player loses ball over tryline


Catch up with Sam Warburton


Tameifuna's huge hit on Michael Hooper


George Pisi hit makes Shane Geraghty ill


Dafydd Howells scores quickest try ever?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Highlights of the Wallabies win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium

With all the focus on Shane Williams' retirement and the nice exit he had scoring with his final touch of the ball, the result of the game between Wales and the Wallabies was overlooked slightly. For the 24-18 victors though, the tour was a success. 

The Wallabies won two from two on their UK tour as they thumped a star-studded Barbarians side then comfortably beat Wales, who after their showing at the Rugby World Cup would have expected to put up a better fight. At 24-6 up with about 15 minutes left in the game, the contest was effectively over, even though Wales did produce a mini fightback.

Robbie Deans' experiment of using young James O'Connor at number ten was a huge success. He had the guidance of Berrick Barnes on his inside, and together they showed a lot of stability, something that was at times missed during the RWC campaign.

In Quade Cooper's absence due to injury Barnes was probably expected to be the obvious replacement, but he is happy to play at inside center, and most importantly, just to get out on the park. One forgets that earlier this year he retired from rugby due to repeated dizzy spells.

"I've enjoyed playing it, and at the end of the day I'll take a Test start wherever I can get it, and especially after the year I've had," Barnes upon landing in Sydney.

"I feel like I'm getting back to my best sort of footy in the last couple of games," Barnes added.

He was integral in a turning point in the game as the Wallabies almost scored a try but for a early tackle and yellow card to Wales' Leigh Halfpenny. His pickup of an inside pass from Lachie Turner was sensational.

At fulltime the Wallabies left happy, as did Williams and the 60 000 fans on hand at the Millennium Stadium to witness his final ever game for his country, and a typically well taken try to finish a great Test career. Below are highlights from the game if you missed it.

Posted at 8:20 pm | 15 comments

Farewell to Shane Williams - Final try and interviews

Peter Stringer commits daylight robbery on James O'Connor

Wallabies crush the Barbarians in Matfield's farewell

Viewing 15 comments

Frenchman December 08, 2011 12:39 am

Great to see S. Williams scoring for his last game, he's such a legend of the game!!

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Finny December 08, 2011 1:54 am

I love this site! Just a quick note FYI - here in Aust we don't call it 'first five' [although they do in NZ] but sometimes call it five-eighth [as done in league too] or flyhalf [or occasionally maybe: pivot; again, as in done sometime in league too]. cheers ;-D

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Ando December 08, 2011 2:54 am

Wallabies backline lookin' goooooooood...

Really pleased to hear the Wallabies have made clear their objective to become and remain the #1 team in the world - that's the way to win World Cups!!

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WelshOsprey December 08, 2011 3:59 am

O'Connor is a classy player
Lions 2013 should be great

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breakaway December 08, 2011 4:00 am

I was glad to see Williams get the try and for Wales to get something out of the game, but the reality is that he's just the sort of player they can't afford to lose. I like Wales' attitude trying to play an expansive game but this test highlighted the fact that they just don't have the players (yet) with that extra spark at the right time. They made very few line breaks and both the tries were through fairly orthodox play at a time when Oz had the game won and were looking forward to a hot shower. In contrast, the Aust tries came through a long double cut-out pass to find the open winger, Samo's delayed (and delayed) pop pass to Barnes on a planned long running arc, and the try denied by the TMO was a beautifully weighted cross-kick right into Turner's arms. (Maybe there was enough benefit of the doubt that another TMO might have awarded that one.) As in the RWC against top sides, I saw Wales getting into good positions but not having that moment of class to make it count. For their sake I hope a couple of guys can step up.

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Askelkana December 08, 2011 8:32 am

Bear in mind that the Wallaby tries came when Wales were a man down. Other than that, it seems it was a close game. But fair dinkum to the Wallabies, they were clinical enough to take advantage of the extra man.

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Eggman December 08, 2011 2:54 pm

The Momentum was on the Aussies side already before the yellow card, and had Halfpenny not tackled O'Connor he would've been under the posts for a try... Also you could feel the Aussies went of the gas after the sinbin was over because they knew they alreday won the game..

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Javier Xavier December 08, 2011 4:45 am

Wallabies didn't look that good, when they didn't have a man advantage they were outscored 18-3. It's the end of the year and it shows. When a man up, they really showed their class, though, and even before that they were ascendant in the 2nd half.

Very strange for Ioane to get man of the match, he ran sideways too much! I wonder if it had something to do with the contract negotiations that were running parallel. Genia deserved it far more, as did Barnes, who adds so much skill from the 12.

The only problem with Barnes is that I worry that he is not going to get up every time he takes a shot. He was creamed at least 3 times during the game, by Jamie Roberts (2x) and Falateau.

Other than that: Higginbotham played well for AUS, high work rate especially on attack and a good complement to Pokock, who tried but was mostly neutralized by the ref. Polata-Nau also played well, the Aussie's backup front row can actually scrummage! Anthony Fainga is a monster on D, very complementary to Barne's attack.

For Wales, Warburton is the real deal, as is George North, who mixes it up quite a bit for a winger. I don't know who their 13 is but he did very well as well. Genthin Jenkis is very, very solid on defense, better than most designated fetchers. They have some work to do at the 9, however.

Wales was an exciting team in the 2nd half of the year, but in the end they still lost to SA, FR and AUS (2x). I hope they can pick up in the coming months and prove their mettle. AUS and NZ still leagues ahead of everyone else....

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moddeur December 08, 2011 11:31 am

Although O'Connor and Genia (and others) make the current Wallaby team a formidable force, I wonder if we're ever going to be able to evaluate Wales as a full 15-man team (they always seem to be a man short ...).

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Baldbadger December 08, 2011 7:47 pm

Is it just me that thought Halfpenny was unlucky with that card? If the aussie (can't remember his name sorry) had caught that ball not kicked it forward again it would have been a great try saving tackle. And since Halpenny is behind the man he makes the call to commit to the tackle and hits him as he's practically making contact with the ball. Just wondering your guys opinions on it.

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Reality December 08, 2011 8:34 pm

I don't know; that's a very biased-sounding opinion. I mean on the one hand in Halfpenny's position it might have been difficult to see if he had caught it or not, but on the other hand Turner had not caught it and he was tackled when he didn't have the ball. I mean the fact is, whether through his own fault or not, Halfpenny tackled a man without the ball and prevented what I would say was a definite try and so really a penalty-try should have been awarded, and the yellow card was completely justified.

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Me December 10, 2011 1:12 am

In the end of the day, the better team came out on top.
I just want to put out my thoughts about Leigh Halfpennys tackle and hear what you all think. The yellow was a definite yellow, tackled a player without the ball.
But in my honest opinion, i think Leigh was very unlucky, i have watched him play for Wales and the Cardiff Blues and he is a VERY clean player. I think that he thought James O'Connor had the ball, so he tackled him, had he tackled a second later, James would have caught it, and possibly then knocked on because Leigh went for the arms. Either way i don't think it would have been a try because of HOW the tackle was done. Had he gone for the legs, then yes the forward momentum would have had him go over, plus with arm extension, but like i said, he went for the arms.
Unfortunately for him the yellow is right. I was told by someone that Leigh Halfpenny was a cheater, and i thought he had his hands in the ruck or did a blatent high tackle or something. But when i saw that it was this, i didn't understand why he was a cheater. I honestly believe that Leigh thought James had the ball.
Thats what i think, great game none the less! Can't wait for 2013 when the Lions head down under!

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nick December 10, 2011 11:23 pm

Anyone else think that the aussie deliberately let shane williams run past him (the first attempt) seems uncharacteristicly (sp?) comical miss.

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DaRab December 13, 2011 2:30 am

I thought I saw the flags go up for that conversion, 24-20?

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