Bernard Foley inspires Wallabies in rout of Wales

Australia fly half puts in man-of-the-match performance in 32-8 victory in Cardiff

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 November, 2016, 12:54am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 November, 2016, 12:54am

Australia began their latest attempt at a grand slam of the home unions by humiliating Wales 32-8 on Saturday, with fly half 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.

“It was the first game of the tour so it was pleasing,” said Australia captain Stephen Moore. “We attacked well and it is a nice way to start the tour.

“We have had a few weeks to work on things and it is nice when that stuff comes off under pressure.”

Wales captain Gethin Jenkins said they lost the match in the first half: “We didn’t get our hands on the ball in the first half,” he said.

“We made errors and they punished us. It’s always an uphill task to get back into the game but full credit to Australia.

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, centre Reece Hodge exchanged passes with Israel Folau before racing clear, and Tevita Kuridrani took Foley’s miss-pass and dummied his way over as the Welsh defence was pierced at will in the first half. Australia had 95 per cent of territory in the first 20 minutes.

Foley got the try his all-round performance deserved in the 55th, although his kicking statistics – three successes from six attempts – let him down. Winger Dane Haylett-Petty’s interception try in the 76th completed the misery for the Welsh.

Wales threatened only in the last 20 minutes, with centre Scott Williams 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.

It has been a disappointing year for the Australians since reaching the Rugby World Cup 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 their end-of-season tour of Europe.

The Wallabies play Scotland, France, Ireland, and England on successive Saturdays.

“I don’t think it relieves the pressure on us,” Foley said. “We just go week by week. We just wanted to start really well against the Welsh. It’s a good start, but we have to get ready for next week.”