Wallabies win heaven sent for Wales

Wales 21 Australia 18
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The Independent Online

Wales captain Ryan Jones believes "the sky is the limit" for his side after a confidence-restoring 21-18 victory over Australia at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The win brought a satisfying conclusion to the autumn Test series for Warren Gatland's side after defeats by South Africa and New Zealand in previous weeks.

It was the first time Wales had floored a Tri-Nations heavyweight since 2005 and the reigning RBS 6 Nations champions produced some scintillating rugby in patches as wing Shane Williams and full-back Lee Byrne scored memorable first-half tries.

Fly-half Stephen Jones ultimately made the difference, though, kicking 11 points - including a 67th-minute drop-goal - to keep Australia at bay.

The Wallabies, beaten in Cardiff three years ago, lost injured skipper Stirling Mortlock inside three minutes, but still pushed Wales through tries by Mark Chisholm and Digby Ioane, while fly-half Matt Giteau slotted a conversion, penalty and drop-goal.

The win will give Wales great belief as they prepare for the defence of their Six Nations title early next year, and Ospreys number eight Jones told BBC Sport: "We're really pleased and hopefully we will kick on from here now.

"We played some fantastic rugby today and I think we proved we are capable of doing it against the top sides. There were some really special guys missing today and we did it for them.

"With the work ethic in this team and the coaches we have got, I think the sky is the limit."

Byrne added: "It's been a long time coming and we have been unlucky in the last couple of games - this was a must-win game today.

"It was a bit tense at the end and we all thought 'here we go again' but we stuck at it and our defence was superb."

Shane Williams said: "It was tremendous and I'm glad to be a part of it. It was a massive team effort, Lee Byrne is playing some incredible rugby at the moment."