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

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

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there