A titanic battle in a hot and humid Tokyo resulted in a narrow but vitally important victory for Wales, a game in which Welsh skipper Alun Wyn Jones became the most-capped Welsh player ever.
In what truly was a ‘game of two halves’, the Scarlets went into halftime leading by 15 points. But the Wallabies came roaring back to get within four points of what would have been a stunning comeback victory.
The Welsh had dominated the opening 15 minutes and perhaps should have amassed more than the ten point lead they established. But the Wallabies hit back with a try of their own and then a penalty to make it 10-8. Wales replied with a penalty at 32 minutes, scored by Rhys Patchell, who also converted (off the post) three minutes later after a penalty was awarded against Kerevi (who was fortunate to not receive a yellow card). Gareth Davies then intercepted Will Genia’s pass and ran 70 metres to score his 13th try for Wales and Patchell converted to give Wales a sizeable lead at half-time.
The Australians looked a completely different team after the break, notably improving for the introduction of Isi Naisarani and Matt Toomua. They dominated possession and deservedly scored a converted try seven minutes after the restart.
They continued to pile on the pressure and it was no surprise when they scored another, Hooper crossing under the posts leaving a simple conversion for Toomua.
At 67 minutes, Wales conceded another penalty which Toomua scored to reduce the lead to a single point.
Heading into the final ten minutes, it looked as though the momentum was with the Wallabies but they gave away a penalty which Patchell gratefully slotted over.
That relieved some of the pressure and Wales were able to see out the final minutes to seal a famous victory.
Both teams should still progress from the group, but life may now be a little trickier for the Wallabies as they are likely to face England in the Quarter-finals.