By Jake Harvey - Welsh Correspondent
Wales travelled to Australia three weeks ago with incredibly high expectations; now that it’s time for them to make their way home it seems as if those expectations seemed rather unrealistic.
Wales yesterday played their third and final test of their Australian tour. They had lost the two previous games to the world’s second strongest side but went into the match looking for Welsh Rugby’s first win against the Wallabies in Australia since 1969.
The game was slow with little productive action. Leigh Halfpenny and Berrick Barnes shared a number of penalties as both sides went in at Half Time with the score at 12- 9 to the Wallabies. Wales started the second half strongly as Number 8 and former captain Ryan Jones went in for Wales first and only try of the match.
A number of penalties were given against the Welsh due to clumsiness at the breakdown by the welsh pack. A mass amount of Welsh Rugby fans also took to social networking sites to criticise referee Craig Joubert’s decision making. Barnes continued to kick the points over for Australia and the Wallabies eventually went over for their first try, scored by Rob Horne. Wales couldn’t quite keep up with Australia’s fourth-choice kicker Berrick Barnes’ accurate goal kicking as the test finished at 20-19 to Australia.
If I had to pick one word to describe Wales’ Tour it would be a familiar word to this team. I would choose the word ‘Unlucky’. Wales did well in all three tests and came close in each of them, with the first test just an ‘Unlucky’ late try to take away a 1 point defeat to Australia. The second test seemed even more ‘Unlucky’ as Rob Howley’s men lost by just two points with the score finishing at 25-23. After these two games they had lost the tour but still remained focused on achieving a victory in the final test in Melbourne. Again, they were ‘Unlucky’ but are these tests down to luck or are they down to avoiding basic errors and the ability to hold on to a lead.
Maybe Craig Joubert was unfair, but Wales surely can’t blame the referee for five losses in the last nine months against Australia, the Southern Hemisphere is still far elite to the Northern Hemisphere. Without mentioning the results, Wales played well in all three tests, but sadly, they will not go down as good performances; they will go down as defeats to a side that has been beating them continuously since Wales’ last victory against Australia in 2005.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of Australia’s visit to the Millenium Stadium in the Autumn Series, will Wales get some revenge or will they suffer yet another defeat. Wales have proven they’re the best team in the Northern Hemisphere by winning not only the Six Nations, but with a Grand Slam. Now, to prove they are as good as the ‘Big three’ in world rugby then they simply have to start beating them. The Autumn Series is their next chance to do just that. New Zealand still seem to good for anyone from the Northern Hemisphere, but Australia could be awaiting a shock defeat in Cardiff on December 1st.
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