Australia 25-29 Wales: Rugby World Cup match report, highlights and scorers

The Wales players bow to the crowd after beating Australia
The Wales players bow to the crowd after beating Australia

Wales put one foot in the World Cup quarter-finals and announced themselves as major title contenders after beating Australia 29-25 at Tokyo Stadium.

Australia 25-29 Wales

Australia tries: Ashley-Cooper, Haylett-Petty, Hooper
Australia conversions: Toomua (2)
Australia penalties: Foley, Toomua

Wales tries: Parkes, G Davies
Wales conversions: Biggar, Patchell
Wales penalties: Patchell (3)
Wales drop-goals: Biggar, Patchell

Match highlights:

Australia vs Wales (25-29) | Rugby World Cup 2019 Highlights

Match report:

Wales put one foot in the World Cup quarter-finals and announced themselves as major title contenders after beating Australia 29-25 at Tokyo Stadium.

The Six Nations champions took charge of Pool D with a second successive win that could lead to a last-eight clash against France or Argentina.

Australia, though, might be hurtling towards a knockout tie with England, who are coached by former Wallabies boss Eddie Jones, despite staging a spectacular second-half fightback.

Gareth Davies sprints clear to score
Gareth Davies sprints clear to score

Wales looked home and dry when they led 26-8 through tries by centre Hadleigh Parkes and scrum-half Gareth Davies.

Fly-halves Dan Biggar and Rhys Patchell kicked 19 points between them - Patchell contributed 14 after replacing Biggar, who went off for a head injury assessment - but Australia got it back to one point at 26-25.

Wing Adam Ashley-Cooper, full-back Dane Haylett-Petty and captain Michael Hooper claimed touchdowns, with Bernard Foley kicking a penalty and Matt Toomua booting seven points.

But Wales held out, helped out by Patchell's 72-minute strike, to beat Australia for only a second time in the last 15 Tests following a scintillating contest.

Alun Wyn Jones became Wales' most-capped player as he led his country out, making his 130th appearance to break the record he previously shared with prop Gethin Jenkins.

Australia were without suspended wing Reece Hodge - replaced by Ashley-Cooper - while half-backs Foley and Will Genia were also called up by head coach Michael Cheika.

Wales made a dream start and were ahead after just 36 seconds when the Welsh pack secured quality possession inside Australia's 22 and Biggar dropped a goal.

Australia were rocked by the ferocity of Wales' start, and Biggar went close to doubling the lead but drifted a touchline penalty attempt wide.

Wales were outstanding with ball in hand, looking to involve wings George North and Josh Adams at regular opportunities.

Australia's defence came under considerable pressure, and Wales increased their lead through a 13th-minute try.

Biggar was the architect, kicking to the wing, and centre Parkes climbed above Wallabies wing Marika Koroibete, before spinning and touching down.

Biggar's successful touchline conversion made it 10-0, and Hooper was then warned by referee Romain Poite for a challenge on the Wales number 10.

Australia opened their account with a 21st-minute try by Ashley-Cooper after Foley's kick found space, cutting their deficit by five points.

Centre Samu Kerevi began to cause problems for the Welsh defence with his powerful running, and Wales then lost Biggar for a head injury assessment, with Patchell replacing him.

Foley booted a penalty shortly afterwards, and Wales' lead had been reduced to 10-8 after 30 minutes.

Wales needed to regroup, and a Patchell penalty seven minutes before half-time restored the Six Nations champions' five-point advantage, then he kicked another three-pointer from almost 50 metres.

And it then got even better for Wales when scrum-half Davies intercepted a Wallabies pass on halfway and sprinted clear to score their second try. Patchell's conversion put Wales 15 points in front, ending an opening 40 minutes they had dominated.

Biggar did not rejoin the action, but Patchell had acquitted himself impressively at the hub of a controlling Wales performance. And he underlined it following another spell of Wales pressure by landing a drop-goal that meant Wales had an 18-point lead.

But Australia then hit back following a flowing long-range move which ended with Haylett-Petty crossing for a try that Toomua converted. The touchdown gave Australia a new lease of life, sensing that one more try would put them well and truly back in the contest.

Wales knew it, too, but Wallabies pressure was mounting, and three close-range driven line-outs saw Australia continue to turn the screw.

And Wales could not hold out, with Hooper claiming a touchdown following relentless pressure, and Toomua's conversion meant Australia trailed 26-22 with 18 minutes left.

Toomua and Patchell then exchanged kicks, but Wales held out and claimed arguably the finest victory of head coach Warren Gatland's long reign.

Match reaction:

Wales boss Warren Gatland hailed his players' composure and fitness after they moved towards the World Cup quarter-finals with a memorable victory over Australia.

The Pool D showdown did not disappoint as Wales cruised into a 26-8 lead before Australia went within a point of drawing level - and were then finally broken by replacement Rhys Patchell's late penalty.

Wales' 29-25 triumph keeps them on course for a potential last-eight clash against France or Argentina - but Australia appear to be hurtling towards a quarter-final appointment with England and their former head coach Eddie Jones.

It was Wales second win in succession against Australia but a first World Cup victory over the Wallabies since 1987.

"I would like to see them (Wales players) celebrate tonight," Gatland said. "They deserve to celebrate - it was a tough game and a great win.

"Australia were really good in the second half, put us under a lot of pressure and had a lot of ball.

"And it became a typical Wales-Australia clash, going right down to the wire. To win that is very pleasing, and that means the pool is our own destiny.

"Our game-management has improved significantly. It was good in the autumn last year, and particularly in the Six Nations. We've learnt a lot from those experiences.

"Even though we were under a lot of pressure in that second half, I thought our composure and fitness were really good and we soaked up a lot of pressure.

Gatland confirmed fly-half Dan Biggar failed a head injury assessment - he was replaced by Patchell during the first half - and that full-back Liam Williams rolled his ankle.

"Dan failed an HIA," Gatland added. "I had a chat with him afterwards.

"He's disappointed he had to come off, but it is important we go through the (HIA) protocols.

"Rhys (Patchell) did a fantastic job for us. He's been criticised a lot for his defence in the past. We changed a few things about the way he defended, and I though his line speed was excellent.

"He made some big tackles for us and controlled the game pretty well. It was a big match for him to come on early and get the win, and he will get a lot of confidence from that.

"It was one of the toughest Test matches they've played in a long, long time. We need to make sure we recover. It's nice getting a decent break before getting our next game against Fiji."

Wales looked home and dry when they led through tries by centre Hadleigh Parkes and scrum-half Gareth Davies, with Biggar and Patchell kicking 19 points between them including Patchell's 72nd-minute clincher.

Wing Adam Ashley-Cooper, full-back Dane Haylett-Petty and captain Michael Hooper claimed touchdowns for Australia, with Bernard Foley kicking a penalty and Matt Toomua booting seven points.

But Wales held out to claim victory and give their World Cup campaign considerable momentum.

"It was just about winning, really. It wasn't about knockout stages," Gatland said.

"We won some key turnovers towards the end of the game. It was pleasing to handle the six-day turnaround from the Georgia game, which wasn't an easy encounter.

"I want the guys to look after themselves tonight, but they deserve to pat each other on the back. It's a big confidence boost for the next couple of games.

"It's important we prepare the best we can and don't take anything for granted. We've got to be as clinical as you possibly can."

Player ratings:

A look at how the Wales players rated in the 29-25 win over Australia.

Liam Williams: Had a few sticky moments in defence, but he was always a threat with ball in hand. 7/10

George North: Looked hungry for work and kept Australia's defence occupied with his powerful presence. 7

Jonathan Davies: Marshalled Wales' defence expertly and took the challenge to Australia. 7

Hadleigh Parkes: Despite suffering a small fracture in his hand against Georgia, he scored a try and was impressive throughout. 8

Josh Adams: Ran hard with ball in hand and also delivered his fair share of tackles. 7

Dan Biggar: Kicked a drop-goal and a conversion before going off for a head injury assessment and not returning. 7

Gareth Davies: Scored an interception try and was a constant thorn in Australia's side with his attacking guile. 9

Wyn Jones: A dominant force in the scrum for Wales, he was at the heart of their set-piece effort. 7

Ken Owens: Showed all his experience and hunger for the battle in the face of Australia's fightback. 7

Tomas Francis: Another hard-working effort by the Exeter prop, who is so consistent. 7

Jake Ball: A fearless defensive display by the Scarlets lock, who time and time again picked himself up off the floor and kept going. 8

Alun Wyn Jones: Made his 130th Test match appearance, setting a new Wales record, and it was one of his finest wins. 8

Aaron Wainwright: Performed with a maturity way beyond his 22 years. Outstanding in everything that he did. 8

Justin Tipuric: Another world-class contribution by the Ospreys flanker, whose standards never dip. 8

Josh Navidi: A bone-crunching effort by the Cardiff Blues number eight as Wales edged towards the quarter-finals. 8

Replacements: Rhys Patchell was the star performer off the bench, kicking 14 points as Wales prevailed. 8

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