McCabe helps Wallabies repel fierce Wales fightback

Australia 27 Wales 19

suncorp stadium

Australia defended grimly to weather a fierce second-half assault from Wales and win the first match of their three-Test series. Trailing 17-3 minutes after the break, Wales closed to within a point with a try by the wing Alex Cuthbert in the 58th minute and some accurate kicking by the full-back Leigh Halfpenny on a drizzly night in Brisbane. But the Wallabies' inside-centre, Pat McCabe, eased the pressure with a try 10 minutes later and Australia made a series of desperate tackles to deny the tourists.

"We had a lot of fun out there it was great to play in front of a crowd like this," said the Wallabies captain, David Pocock. "There was a huge focus on the breakdown. Both teams did pretty well there."

The Wallabies appeared to be a bundle of nerves in the opening minutes, putting themselves under pressure with errant passes, but an equally jittery Wales failed to capitalise. The tourists made the first major incursion, in the 10th minute, with a break in midfield, but McCabe made a brilliant, lunging tackle to bring down Scott Williams 10 metres from the line before a knock-on ended the move.

Four minutes later McCabe blew a certain try, sparking howls from the stands, when he ignored Digby Ioane outside and made a dart for the left corner, only to be tackled short of the line.

The Australian pressure eventually told, though, the Welsh defence buckling in the 15th minute when the Wallaby flanker Scott Higginbotham planted the ball next to the posts after a series of crashing drives by the forwards.

Halfpenny, who played most of the match on the wing after George North injured a knee in the first half, steemed the bleeding with a penalty in the 23rd minute and at the break it was 10-3, but the Wallaby scrum-half Will Genia struck less than a minute into the second half when he danced superbly past a clutch of defenders to cross beneath the posts.

Wales counter-attacked and a clash of heads between the Australian hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and Williams saw both players trudge off the field before Cuthbert scored just before the hour, snaffling a pass popped up from the debutant Ashley Beck and charging over near the right corner.

Four minutes later Wales blew a certain try, when Rhys Priestland spilled a terrible pass over his head in front of the posts, with a two-man overlap waiting. Halfpenny kicked his fourth penalty to bring Wales to within a point but McCabe burst through from 10 metres after taking a pass from Genia.

Wales pushed for a late try and broke the Wallabies' line on several occasions, but they were denied repeatedly by brilliant tackles. Higginbotham proved heroic as he brought down Cuthbert on the line and Berrick Barnes made another try-saving tackle moments later.

Australia A Ashley-Cooper (New South Wales Waratahs); C Vuna (Melbourne Rebels), R Horne (Waratahs), P McCabe (ACT Brumbies), D Ioane (Queensland Reds); B Barnes (Waratahs), W Genia (Reds); B Robinson, T Polota Nau, S Kepu (all Waratahs), R Simmons (Reds), N Sharpe (Western Force), S Higginbotham (Reds), W Palu (Waratahs), D Pocock (capt, Force). Replacements A Fainga'a (Reds) for Horne, 50-55; for Vuna, 71; S Moore (Brumbies) for Polota Nau, 55; B Alexander (Brumbies) for Robinson, 58; M Hooper (Brumbies) for Palu, 58; D Dennis (Waratahs) for Sharpe, 64.

Wales L Halfpenny; A Cuthbert (both Cardiff Blues), J Davies, S Williams, G North; R Priestland (all Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); G Jenkins (Blues), K Owens (Scarlets), A Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Blues), L Charteris, D Lydiate, T Faletau (all Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Blues, capt). Replacements J Hook (Perpignan) for North, 28; AW Jones (Ospreys) for Charteris, 51; R Jones (Ospreys) for Faletau, 51; M Rees (Scarlets) for Owens, 51; A Beck (Ospreys) for Williams, 55; P James (Ospreys) for A Jones, 75.

Referee C Joubert (South Africa).

Australia

Tries: Higginbotham, Genia, McCabe

Cons: Barnes 3

Pen: Barnes

DG: Barnes

Wales

Try: Cuthbert

Con: Halfpenny

Pens: Halfpenny 4

News
Howard Marks who has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer aged 69
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
Rowan Atkinson at the wheel of his McLaren F1 GTR sports car
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us