Sunday 18 February 2018

Wales left to rue whitewash

AUSTRALIA 20

WALES 19

Australia head coach Robbie Deans believes Wales will be "lying in wait" for his Wallabies side ahead of their fourth meeting of the year at the Millennium Stadium on December 1.

There were only 11 points splitting the two teams in the three-Test series, but it ended in Sydney yesterday as a 3-0 whitewash in favour of Australia. But if it was heartbreak once again for Sam Warburton's men, Deans expects the bitter disappointment to fire them up for the next meeting. "Both teams were capable of winning that game and credit to my blokes for showing some composure in critical moments at the end. They also showed great discipline because there was a lot happening off the ball and they didn't react," he said.

"Wales are a world-class side. They have a capacity to play, they have an ability to keep going for the full 80 minutes and they have threats all across the park. By the time we get over there at the end of the year they will be refreshed and lying in wait not only for us, but also the All Blacks."

Having lost the first Test in Brisbane by eight points, and the second in Melbourne by two having led up until the 81st minute, there was more pain in Sydney -- beaten by a single point after twice taking the lead in the second half.

"It has been a fantastic series and we are going to improve as a result of this. We have been very close over the last few weeks, but we don't want any pats on the back -- this team just wants to win," said Wales caretaker coach Rob Howley.

"The players turned around from last week, trained very well and their attitude was outstanding. But it is a 3-0 whitewash in the series and we won't be hiding away from that. It was disappointing in the last 10 minutes after taking the lead because we didn't make the most of the opportunities we had."

Wales lost their skipper Warburton after 28 minutes in the first half with concussion and went through three captains in the match after Ryan Jones had to go off for running repairs, leaving Matthew Rees in charge.

"We showed character to get field position in the second half. The lineout was much better than last week and our scrum got on top," added Howley. "But mastering those key moments is the important lesson. It has been a huge learning curve for so many of the players who have never been to Australia before. The bounce of the ball could have been kinder to us in the end. James Hook was five metres ahead in the race for the ball on their 22, but the ball went into touch and Leigh Halfpenny hit the upright with a kick."

Scorers -- Australia: Horne try, Barnes 5 pens. Wales: R Jones try; Halfpenny 4 pens, con.

Australia: K Beale; A Ashley-Cooper, R Horne, P McCabe (A Faingaa 34), D Ioane; B Barnes, W Genia; B Robinson, T Polota-Nau (S Moore 56), S Kepu (B Alexander 56); S Timani (R Simmons 72), N Sharpe; S Higginbotham (D Dennis 56), D Pocock, W Palu.

Wales: L Halfpenny; A Cuthbert, J Davies, A Beck (S Williams 65), G North; R Priestland (J Hook 69), M Phillips; G Jenkins (P James 40), M Rees (K Owens 65), A Jones; B Davies, A Jones (L Charteris 65); D Lydiate, S Warburton (J Tipuric 28), R Jones (L Charteris 49-56).

Referee: C Joubert (South Africa)

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