Australia thrash defiant Wales

Racecourse Ground, Wrexham played host to an unexpectedly interesting Four Nations encounter between Australia and Wales, with the two sides coming from opposing positions to actually put on a contest which the 56-14 scoreline failed to reflect.

A solid crowd turned up for a David vs Goliath battle and despite the huge disparity between the sides, they were not disappointed. Wales put in a monster effort to compete and left the Kangaroos with much to work on ahead of the final next weekend against hosts England.

Australia came into the game missing several key players, but still seemed a much stronger playing unit than the Welsh side, the Welsh however proved that despite their recent failings that they could compete with some of the best and ought not be underestimated.

Wrexham was treated to an unlikely contest in the first half of the penultimate game of the tournament. What was most unlikely was the 2 try lead Wales got off to in the opening 15 minutes of the match.

Wales opened the scoring for the match in the 11th minute with a try to Rhys Williams in one corner and by the 15th, and they were 8-nil up after Elliot Kear touched down another four pointer in the opposite corner.

Wales captain Lee Briers was chasing 100 international points but his teammates weren't making them easy for him only offering difficult conversion attempts early. The missed conversions spelled out doom, and left the door firmly open for Australia to recover.

It took a while for Australia to hit back, shocked at the fight Wales was putting on, but once the likes of Paul Gallen entered the field, the sheer class of the Australian outfit shone through and it was only a matter of time before Australia found their way onto the scoreboard.

Australia's first points came in the 26th minute through interim captain Cameron Smith, after which the floodgates were open with the help of immaculate goal kicking from the Kangaroos' number 7, Johnathan Thurston.

Melbourne Storm halfback Cooper Cronk, in the Australian number 6 jersey in the absence of retiring skipper Darren Lockyer, added two tries in the last 2 minutes of the opening half and was aided by the boot of Thurston to help Australia to an 18-8 halftime lead.

The Australian ascendency continued in the second half, highlighted by a 100-metre try to fill-in fullback Darius Boyd and a personal tally of 20 points from the game to Johnathan Thurston, who, with his 4th conversion of the night collected a career total of 200 international points.

The only consolation for the Welsh in the second half came through retiring skipper Lee Briers whose nifty kick set up the lone try for Wales in the second half and helped himself wrack up 100 points for Wales in his international career.

But in the end, Australia finished well on top of Wales with a resounding 10 tries to 3 victory which sets up a thrilling finale to not only the series but the career of Darren Lockyer. The Australians head to Leeds' Elland Road to take on host nation England at 4am next Sunday morning AEDST (3am AEST).

Match Details
Wales 14 were defeated by Australia 56
Four Nations - Four Nations Week 3 - Monday November 14, 2011 3:45am
Venue: Racecourse Ground, Wrexham (Nth Wales)
Referee: Phil Bentham
Video Referee: Ben Thaler
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Tim Roby
Crowd: 5,233
Halftime: Wales 8 Australia 18

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Cameron Smith (1 Try)
2 Points - Cooper Cronk (3 Tries)
1 Point - Darius Boyd (1 Try)

Wales (14)
Tries: Jordan James, Rhys Williams, Elliot Kear
Conversions: Lee Briers (1/3)

Australia (56)
Tries: Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith, Josh Morris, Cooper Cronk (3), Daly Cherry-Evans , Darius Boyd, Jharal Yow Yeh
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (8/9), Cameron Smith (0/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good Evening and welcome to Racecourse Ground in Wrexham, North Wales for League Unlimited's coverage of the penultimate game of the 2011 Four Nations series. This match sees the thus far undefeated Kangaroos take on the yet to win a game in this tournament Welsh team.
Injuries and suspensions in key positions have forced several changes in the Australian line up, but Tim Sheens' men still line up much stronger than their Welsh counterparts. Full team lists can be found under the match roster tab.
1 min: Australia kick off to give Wales the first use of the football.
2 min: Solid starts from both sides as Wales has defended really well to keep out an early Australian raid.
4 min: Wales showing some fight early with Kear making a line break from deep in his own half.
7 min: Australia bungle a great scoring opportunity at the Wales line with Cameron Smith putting down a Thurston pass 10 away from the line.
9 min: Yow Yeh loses the ball in a tackle on the kick return and appears to have picked up an injury, possibly in the neck. Yow Yeh gets up and will play on.
10 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Wales TRY!
12 min: TRY
TRY to Wales!
Briers puts in a deft stab kick into the corner seeing a vacant wing and Rhys Williams flies onto the ball to collect the first points of the game. Conversion attempt from Briers unsuccessful.
Wales 4-0
14 min: TRY
TRY to Wales!
Insanity here in North Wales as the homeside put some more points on Australia, this time it's through the hands and goes to the other corner to put Eliot Kear in for a try. Briers' boot is again unsuccessful.
Wales 8-0
17 min: Wales with momentum here, Australia not quite in trouble yet, but this can't be what the game plan expected.
18 min: PENALTY to Wales against Inglis from the kick chase.
19 min: Wales capitalise on the advantage from the penalty earning a repeat set by forcing the line drop out.
20 min: Wales earn another repeat set by forcing another goal line drop out.
22 min: Australia finally have some possession again as they gather the ball and run it out from in goal.
24 min: PENALTY to Australia in prime real estate, within ten metres of the Wales line.
24 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Australia TRY!
25 min: TRY
TRY to Australia!
Camerom Smith has grounded it on the line and the Kangaroos claim their first points of the line. Thurston converts with ease and Australia are 2 points away.
Wales 8-6
26 min: PENALTY to Australia for a grapple tackle, which helps Australia past half way.
27 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Australian TRY.
27 min: NO TRY! PENALTY to Wales for a strip.
28 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Welsh TRY.
28 min: NO TRY! PENALTY against Wales for offside from the kick.
31 min: Australia appear to have taken control of this game now and have forced Wales into some silly plays.
32 min: Huge interception from Briers right at the line and Wales are let off the hook. Good line break, but his legs wouldn't carry him more than 20 odd metres.
35 min: This has turned out to be quite the contest with Wales putting in a tonne of heart to compete with this this under-strength Australian team.
36 min: Wales knock on to gift Australia are great opportunity.
36 min: And Thurston knocks on at the line with the help of great defensive pressure.
39 min: TRY
TRY to Australia!
Camerom Smith makes a line break straight up the middle and finds his Melbourne teammate Cooper Cronk who dashes in to score between the posts to give Australia their first lead of the night. Thurston nails an easy conversion.
Australia 12-8
40 min: TRY
TRY to Australia
Disappointing end to the half for Wales who concede a very soft try when Inglis put Cronk in to score his second untouched. Another simple conversion for Thurston gives him 2 more points.
Australia 18-8
40 min: And that will be the half, Australia lead 18 points to 8.
41 min: Second half under way.
43 min: TRY
TRY to Australia!
Thurston makes a line break and gets it onto Cronk who looks like getting a hattrick, but passes it to Day Cherry-Evans to score his maiden test try on his test debut. Thurston converts with ease to rack up 200 test points.
Australia 24-8
44 min: Australia look well on top now and Wales don't appear to be in the contest at all early in the second.
47 min: TRY
TRY to the Kangaroos!
Darius Boyd from the kick return assists Morris to a line break on his outside before Morris passes it back and Boyd streaks the remainder of the distance to score a 100 metre try. The boot of Thurston adds 2 more points.
Australia 30-8
50 min: TRY
TRY to Wales!
Wales find some field position and pull a try out of nowhere with Lee Briers setting it up with a short boot before it is batted back to Jordon James to score between the posts. Briers with his easiest attempt of the night converts the try to collect his 100th point for Wales.
Australia 30-14
52 min: Wales prove that they are not dead yet, but still have a way to go to really challenge for this match.
53 min: PENALTY to Wales against Beau Scott to help Wales into some good field position.
54 min: Wales fluff up the opportunity with a loose pass to give Australia a scrum feed.
55 min: Australia return the favour gifting Wales a scrum 10 out from half way.
55 min: Australia return the favour gifting Wales a scrum 10 out from half way.
60 min: TRY
TRY toAustralia!
Australia give Wales the run around and Thurston collects some points with the ball in hand and proceeds to put on more with the boot.
Australia 36-14
62 min: Some solid defence from Wales bundles Beau Scott into touch.
63 min: Thurston intercepts a Lennon pass and Australia have great field position.
64 min: TRY
TRY to Australia!
From the intercept Thurston gets it on to Greg Inglis to score a soft try. Thurston converts.
Australia 42-14
66 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Australia TRY.
68 min: TRY
TRY
No problem with it and Australia have another, this through Yow Yeh in the corner. Thurston produces his first miss of the night on a very difficult conversion.
Australia 46-14
69 min: Wales are capitulating here.
71 min: TRY
TRY!
Another soft try to Australia as Cronk goes in for his third of the night. Thurston converts then takes an early break.
Australia 52-14
73 min: Wales concede possession cheaply.
75 min: TRY
TRY!
Australia capitalise on the error with Greg Inglis collecting the ball and getting it on to Morris to score out wide. Cameron Snmith takes on the kicking duties with Thurston off the field and misses with his first attempt.
Australia 56-14
78 min: And Australia make an error, it's unlikely to cost them much, but gives Wales something to work with.
80 min: There goes the siren, Australia have collected a thumping 56-14 victory.

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