Wal­la­bies over­whelm Wales 32-8 to be­gin grand slam tour

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Aus­tralia be­gan its lat­est at­tempt at a grand slam of the home unions by hu­mil­i­at­ing Wales 328 yes­ter­day, with fly­half Bernard Fo­ley scor­ing one of the team's five tries in a su­perb in­di­vid­ual dis­play.

Bat­tle-hard­ened from the Rugby Cham­pi­onship, the Wal­la­bies were too slick and in­ci­sive for Wales at Mil­len­nium Sta­dium, es­pe­cially dur­ing a first half that fin­ished 20-3 and should have been much worse for the hosts.

The Welsh have lost 12 straight tests against Aus­tralia stretch­ing back to 2009. And this wasn't one of the nar­row de­feats that have plagued Wales in many re­cent meet­ings.

Cap­tain Stephen Moore fin­ished off a rolling maul for Aus­tralia's first try, in­side cen­ter Reece Hodge ex­changed passes with Is­rael Fo­lau be­fore rac­ing clear, and out­side cen­ter Te­vita Kuridrani took Fo­ley's miss-pass and dum­mied his way over as the Welsh de­fense was pierced at will in the first half. Aus­tralia had 95 per­cent ter­ri­tory in the first 20 min­utes.

Fo­ley sprinted 30 me­ters af­ter a well-worked move to get the try his all-round per­for­mance de­served in the 55th, although his kick­ing sta­tis­tics — three suc­cesses from six at­tempts — let him down.

Many in the quiet crowd of 55,700 were al­ready leav­ing be­fore Dane Haylett-Petty's in­ter­cep­tion try in the 76th com­pleted the mis­ery for the Welsh and made up for the winger's firsthalf fum­ble, fol­low­ing Fo­ley's break and pass, when the try-line was at his mercy.

Wales threat­ened only in the last 20 min­utes, with cen­ter Scott Wil­liams — a late in­jury re­place­ment for Jonathan Davies — kick­ing through and col­lect­ing the ball him­self to ground in the 62nd for the only try for the home team, which missed the ex­pe­ri­ence of ab­sent for­wards Alun Wyn Jones, Sam War­bur­ton and Taulupe Fale­tau.

Scrumhalf Rhys Webb was car­ried off in the se­cond half with his right leg in a brace af­ter fall­ing awk­wardly on his an­kle.

It has been a dis­ap­point­ing year for the Aus­tralians since reach­ing the Rugby World Cup fi­nal at the end of 2015, hav­ing lost seven of their pre­vi­ous 10 matches. This re­sult, how­ever, will send a mes­sage to the rest of the home unions fac­ing them in its end-of­sea­son tour of Europe.

The Wal­la­bies play Scot­land, France, Ire­land, and Eng­land on suc­ces­sive Satur­days, and are look­ing to com­plete a first grand slam since 1984.

Aus­tralia made 646 me­ters com­pared to 265 by the Welsh.

"We didn't get our hands on the ball in the first half," said Wales cap­tain Gethin Jenk­ins, who played his 132nd test that tied him for fourth place in the all­time list of test caps.

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