Wales' flying start

Western Australia 20 Wales 62
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The Independent Online
Gareth Thomas scored five tries as Wales made a flying start to their Australian tour by hammering Western Australia at the WACA ground in Perth yesterday.

Wales, despite spells of sloppy play, finished with 10 tries, the 54th- minute introduction of Nigel Davies at centre instantly producing more creativity, variation and productive backplay from the tourists. The one to profit most was Thomas, who was switched from the centre to wing when Davies came on for Simon Hill. Thomas collected four of his tries in a 24-minute period.

There could have been even more but for chances that were left begging and two spells in which Western Australia grab- bed a try. But it was Wales' and Thomas's night, the 20-year-old who signed for Pontypridd just before the tour benefiting as Wales spread the ball wide.

Scrum-half Andy Moore had the distinction of scoring the first points of the trip with a fourth-minute try, Thomas star- ted his tally and then Hill twice raced over in the corner as Wa- les took command. Uncapped wing Dafydd James notched the fifth just before half-time, and Thomas all but monopolised the second-half scoring. The only one to interrupt his spree was flanker Kingsley Jones.

Western Australia: Tries Schaumkel, Thomas. Conversions Schaumkel 2. Penalties Schaumkel 2. Wales: Tries G Thomas 5, Hill 2, James, Jones, Moore. Conversions Jenkins 6.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: J Shirkey; D Dunbar, M Skiffington, C Schaumkel, B Hart; C McMullen, A McDonald (capt); G Howard, M Brain, M Porter, T Thomas, K Angus, M Meredith, J O'Callaghan, D Gleghorn.

WALES: C Cormack (Pontypridd); S Hill (Cardiff), G Thomas (Pontypridd), J Funnell (Neath), D James (Brigend); N Jenkins (Pontypridd), A Moore (Richmond); H Taylor (Cardiff, capt), K Jones (Ebbw Vale), E Lewis (Cardiff), D Jones (Cardiff), P Arnold (Swansea), L Mustoe (Cardiff), G Jenkins (Swansea), A Lewis (Cardiff). Replacements: N Davies (Llanelli), A Thomas (Swansea), R Howley (Brigend), M Voyle (Newport), C Loader (Swansea), J Humphreys (Cardiff).