'Dirt-trackers' show clinical side to give Wales timely lift

Brumbies 15 Wales 25

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The Independent Online

The Wales caretaker coach Rob Howley was happy "to take the win and move on" after seeing his side beat a makeshift Brumbies side 25-15 in Canberra.

The game came three days after Wales lost the first Test to Australia in Brisbane and was four days before the vital second Test in Melbourne.

Howley had asked his back-up players to give the squad some momentum and the win did just that. "It was a job well done. To back up in the midweek after a Test game shows great spirit and character," said Howley.

"We took our chances well in the first half and were clinical. We lacked possession and territory in the second half, but we displayed the kind of defensive qualities we will need in the second Test at the weekend. The qualities we showed in our line speed and numbering up in defence were key in the second half. I'm delighted with the win.

"We've always said we wanted competition for places and once again the players have worn the Welsh jersey with pride and asked the coaches some questions."

Veteran international James Hook scored a try and kicked two penalties and two conversions for the Six Nations champions.

Hook, Justin Tiperic and Alun Wyn Jones all scored first-half tries for the Welsh but the inexperienced Brumbies line-up rallied via the boot of Zac Holmes, who landed five goals, and cut the deficit to four points with 10 minutes remaining. Two late penalties from Hook put the result beyond doubt.