22 Oct 2011

Wallabies win bronze medal match in Auckland

11:29 am on 22 October 2011

Australia rebounded from their semi-final loss to the All Blacks to defeat Wales 21-18 in a frenetic but scrappy rugby world cup Bronze Medal match at Eden Park on Friday night.

Although it was little consolation to the Wallabies after missing out on Sunday's final, they did show some occasional glimpses of the form that saw them win this year's Tri-Nations title by adopting a more adventurous style to ensure they would be seeded third for the next World Cup in 2015.

Second five Berrick Barnes finished off a brilliantly executed try early in the match that suggested the Wallabies might run away with the result but they struggled to maintain their composure after losing playmaker Quade Cooper and defence-splitting fullback Kurtley Beale to injury.

Barnes and wing James O'Connor kept the scoreboard ticking along with their accurate kicking under pressure but it was not until number eight Ben McCalman crashed over six minutes from the end that the victory was secured.

Wales scored two second-half tries, the first by wing Shane Williams then the second by fullback Leigh Halfpenny after time had run out, but they were only consolations in a match that no team ever really wants to play in.