RUGBY WORLD CUP: Austraila top Pool A after thrilling win over Wales

Wales' Liam Williams (left) is tackled by Australia's Adam Ashley-Cooper (floor)
Wales' Liam Williams (left) is tackled by Australia's Adam Ashley-Cooper (floor)

AUSTRALIA 15 WALES 6

Wales will face South Africa in the World Cup quarter-finals next weekend after suffering an 11th successive defeat against Australia.

The Wallabies, meanwhile, face a last-eight appointment with Scotland after five Bernard Foley penalties helped them overcome what appeared to be insurmountable odds at Twickenham.

Australia spent seven minutes of the second period down to 13 men after scrum-half Will Genia and lock Dean Mumm were both yellow-carded.

But the Wallabies then produced arguably the most remarkable defensive rearguard in World Cup history, defying their two-man disadvantage to repel wave after wave of Welsh attacks.

Wales, for whom fly-half Dan Biggar booted two penalties, were partly their own worst enemy, as they lacked the tactical awareness and skill to unlock a team so far on the back foot they were almost down the road in Richmond.

But, in a totally different display from last week’s 33-13 demolition of England, Australia showed stunning defensive resilience, and they must go into World Cup knockout rugby next week as clear favourites to secure a third world title.

Wales, who last beat Australia seven years ago, were once again left to fret about what might have been, although they will take heart from the last time they faced South Africa 11 months ago, skipper Sam Warburton and his men claimed victory.

They will also need to pick themselves up psychologically, though, considering their attacking deficiencies and a lack of tactical appreciation to break down outnumbered opponents.