Wallabies break Welsh hearts in 30-26 victory
Sunday 1 Dec 2013 10:16 a.m.
Quade Cooper (NZN)
By Jim Morton
New Zealand-born Quade Cooper produced a man-of-the-match display in his 50th Test as the Wallabies broke Welsh hearts once again with a pulsating 30-26 victory at Millennium Stadium.
In a classic topsy-turvy rugby Test, Australia showed power, precision and passion before holding on for dear life in the nerve-wracking final 15 minutes when Cooper was controversially yellow-carded for an early tackle.
The three-tries-to-two win under heavy fire put an exclamation mark on a roller-coaster year for the Wallabies - who end their European tour with four straight wins after an opening loss to England.
The enigmatic Cooper was at his bewildering best as he set up the Wallabies' opening try, produced some signature magic tricks, defended stoutly and pulled the strings for a spectacular attacking display that had the tourists up 30-16 in the 50th minute.
But Wales stormed back when star winger George North burst past Scott Fardy for his second try to close the gap to seven points.
When Rhys Priestland punished a Ben Mowen ruck infringement with a penalty goal, the score was 30-26 with 13 minutes to go.
The Welsh attacked relentlessly but couldn't end their Wallabies' curse in a tense finish.
It was the Six Nations champions' ninth straight loss to Australia and their fourth in a row by four points or fewer.