Australia produced one of the best defensive displays in Rugby World Cup memory to beat Wales 15-6 at Twickenham this evening and qualify for the quarter-finals as Pool A winners.
No team could score a try throughout a brutal slugfest. Even when the Wallabies were down to 13 men, heroic defending from Bernard Foley prevented George North from crossing the line.
Wales trailed 12-6 to four Foley penalties when they were given a golden chance to forge their own lead, as both Will Genia and Dean Mumm were sent to the sin-bin in quick succession before the hour.
But Warren Gatland’s side could not capitalise on their 10 minutes with a two-man advantage, as a Herculean effort from the Aussies saw them defend their line and pip the Welsh to top spot.
Israel Folau thought that he had broken Australia’s immense resolve, but his try midway through the second half was ruled out as the TMO correctly adjudged that he had not grounded the ball.
The reward for the two-time champions is a last-eight meeting with Scotland. Wales must now face South Africa and have a potential semi-final against New Zealand should they beat the Springboks.
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