Wales rammed Eddie Jones’ boasts back down his throat, as super-sub Gareth Anscombe sent the Dragons roaring into the World Cup quarter-finals.
ReutersAustralia are on the verge of elimination from the Rugby World Cup[/caption]
Wales were in rampant mood – destroying the Aussies 40-6 in LyonGetty
Australia’s Fraser Mcreight, Richard Arnold and Robert Leota look dejected after the match
That meant Wales are the first team guaranteed a place in the last eight, while the Wallabies are virtually certain to be dumped out in the Pool stage for the first time.
And the thing that will stick in Jones’ throat – along with his hollow claim he had “no doubt” his team would win – is the fact that Ansombe has just signed for Japanese team Suntory Goliath – where the Aussie coach doubles up as chief consultant.
If Jones was behind that signing, he must have feared what might happen when Anscombe took over from the limping Biggar so early in the game.
Not that he will get much pity. Every time his face appeared on the big screen there were raucous boos, while there were equally loud cheers when the cameras switched to opposite number Warren Gatland.
You suspect Jones would lose a popularity contest even if his only rival was the Namibian player whose head-on tackle is threatening to bring Antoine Dupont’s World Cup to a premature end.
Hios five year contract to take the Wallabies through to the next World Cup – in Australia – could easily be ripped up after back-to-back defeats against Fiji and Wales seem certain to condemn them to an early flight home.
Even the bullish Jones must have begun to doubt himself as Wales made the sort of start Gatland must have dreamed about.
They scored a brilliant try from their very first attack. And once again it was captain Jac Morgan, who has quickly developed into an inspirational figure for the Dragons, who was at the heart of it.
The flanker showed the pace of an outside back as he burst through the gap, and sent Gareth Davies over for a try that Dan Biggar converted.
The sight of the scoreboard showing Wales 7-0 ahead with less than three minutes played was a glorious one for the Welsh.
But watching Biggar, their record World Cup points scorer, limp off a few minutes later was far less encouraging.
And two quickfire penalties from Wallabies fly half Ben Donaldosn, cutting the deficit to a single point, deepend the gloom.
It did not last long, as Anscombe banged over a hat-trick of first half penalties to make it 16-6 at half time.
Wales were also helped by some dodgy decision-making from the Wallabies.
They butchered a try-scoring chance when Donaldson ignored a two man overlap and threw a wild pass that Anscombe picked. And the Aussies then rejected an easy three points to kick to the corner – and lost the lineout!
Anscombe made them pay with his fourth penalty three minutes after the break, and his pinpoint kick over the top five minutes later created the second Welsh try for Nick Tompkins.
GettyNick Tompkins scores his country’s second try of the night[/caption]
GettyWales roar into the quarter-finals[/caption]
AFPFor Australia it is heartbreak[/caption]
Anscombe converted, to put Wales twenty points clear, and the booming chorus of Hymns and Arias suggested the Welsh supporters felt this one was in the bag.
And they were right. Anscombe kicked two more penalties, and added a dropped goal. Every time he struck it felt like the boot was going deeper into Jones’ gut.