Mixed fortunes for Wales
4:00pm Tuesday 12th June 2012 in Sport
There were mixed fortunes for Wales’ rugby teams at senior and under-20 levels at the weekend.
Euphoria on Friday as Wales inflicted a first ever defeat over New Zealand Under-20 in South Africa by 9-6 in the World Cup, was quickly turned to misery on Saturday morning, as Australia beat Grand Slam holders Wales 27-19 in Brisbane.
Two players from Pembrokeshire played in the pack that shocked the Baby Blacks, prop Rob Evans, formerly of STP School, Haverfordwest and flanker Luke Hamilton, formerly of Pembroke Comprehensive School played superbly to gain a stunning win after Wales had lost 92-0 to the same opponents in Italy last season.
Both players retained their places in the Wales under-20 team who faced Samoa yesterday (Tuesday) - a win guarantees them a semi final spot.
Coach Danny Wilson said: “It’s vital we keep our eye on the ball and make it three wins from as many games in order to confirm a place in the last four.”
Wales’ senior team included three former Whitland players in the starting backline. Scrum half Mike Phillips and centres Jonathan Davies and Scott Williams.
Robbie Deans under pressure Wallabies, who lost 9-6 to Scotland earlier in the week, grabbed tries through Scott Higginbotham, Will Genia and Pat McCabe with outside half Berrick Barnes converting three, adding a penalty and drop goal for good measure. Wales replied with a well-worked try for winger Alex Cuthbert and full back Leigh Halfpenny collected 14 points with his trusty right boot. Unfortunately it was a painful ending for Scott Williams who left the field after sickening clash of heads. Wales were outgunned at the breakdown as referee Craig Jourbert making some contentious decisions. Coach Rob Howley said: “We weren’t street-wise enough in the contact area and it’s something we’re looking at this week.”
Howley’s team face the Wallabies in Melbourne for the second of three tests.
It will be a tough ask, as Wales have not won on Oz soil for 43 years.