Weekend Round Up: Wales 18 Australia 24

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Shane Williams’ perfect farewell party was somewhat dampened by the Wallabies at the Millennium stadium on Saturday afternoon as Wales’ poor record against the Tri-Nations continued. 

Wales have only beaten the Southern Hemisphere’s top sides 3 times in 46 matches and struggle to assert themselves, regardless of the wealth of talent that clearly exists within their young squad. On a very special day for all, the game remained tight for the first forty minutes with Wales earning a three point lead (6-3) at the break.

Soon after the restart Australia’s danger men at 10 and 12 took control and PUMA’s James O’Connor looked set to run onto a clever kick to score, but was tackled illegally without the ball. Lucky not to concede a penalty try, the Welsh full-back was sin-binned as a result, leaving Wales with 14 men at a crucial period in the game. The numbers game paid dividends for the Aussies as they ran home three unanswered tries in the space of ten minutes to take the game out of reach, O’Connor involved again floating a beautiful pass out to the wing that was duly finished off in the corner.

The man of the moment popped up occasionally to a thunderous roar of approval - his best work coming in defense to make a couple of important tackles, one of which almost certainly saved a try and proved testament to the all-round ability of the little Welsh wizard. Wales looked stronger in the closing moments, building through phases and eventually managing to unlock the Wallabies defense for the Welsh kicker to score.

With Wales 18 points adrift midway through the second half, one could be forgiven for thinking Shane Williams’ final test match would come and go without a touch of magic to remember him by, but thankfully, cometh the hour, cometh the man! Playing more for Shane Williams than anything else, Wales continued to pile on the pressure and he was presented with the ball in the 80th minute with a lot of work to do…a lightning fast sidestep away from the tackle, electric pace to the line and a celebratory roll gave him his 58th and final try for his country and restored some parity to the score line. What followed was a very emotional post-match interview with a tearful Williams as he reflected on a magnificent career and said goodbye to the Cardiff faithful.

Bye-bye Shane!! :)

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