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Wallabies win third-place play-off

21 October 2011 09:50 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Australia and Wales closed out their World Cup campaigns in the bronze medal match today, won 21-18 by the Australians.  

Wales missed the kicking precision and attacking dynamism of fly-half Rhys Priestland, who also missed the semi-final against France, and the talismatic leadership of suspended captain Sam Warburton as they failed to break down the determined Aussie defence, and were guilty of making 12 handling errors.

Australia themselves were sans starters and injuries compounded when returning full-back Kurtley Beale and fly-half Quade Cooper were hauled off in the first half. New Zealand-born Cooper who was labelled 'public enemy number one' by All Black supporters, looked intent on showing them what he was capable of – something he failed to do all World Cup – but was warmly cheered after he injured himself attempting his trade-mark stepping, leaving for the dressing room on crutches.
 
He was however instrumental in the first try of the game, as his delayed pass allowed centre Berrick Barnes exploit a gap in the Welsh defence a few metres short of the try line, as the Wallabies took a 7-0 lead. Fly-half James Hook cut the lead down to four points when he converted a penalty in the 20th minute – the score remaining the same at the half-time whistle. Wales took the lead for the first time when Shane Williams grubber kicked his way through the Aussie defence to score what eventually was an easy try. But two penalties within the space of ten minutes saw the Wallabies re-take the lead, further extended in the 68th minute when man-of-the-match Barnes was successful with a drop-kick attempt – the score reading 16-11 at that point. Ben McCalman then scored the Aussie's second try before Welsh full-back Leigh Halfpenny ensured that they finished the campaign with a bang, scoring a try deep into added time.
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