Rookies give Wayne Pivac a lift for Six Nations title defence in narrow victory over Australia
- Wales scored a dramatic late penalty via Rhys Priestland to beat Australia 29-28
- Australia’s Rob Valetini was shown an early red card for a high tackle in Cardiff
- Kurtley Beale’s last-gasp penalty looked to have won the match for the Wallabies
- But substitute fly-half Priestland, 34, stepped up nervelessly to seal the game
Wales believe they are emerging in fine fettle to defend their Six Nations crown next year.
They might have been battered by the All Blacks, overpowered by South Africa and floundering at times in the win over Fiji, but by beating 14-man Australia on the buzzer with only three established names on the field, Wales ended their month in Cardiff tickled pink.
Coach Wayne Pivac was more heartened by his rookies than the win after Rhys Priestland’s winning penalty, kicked after the 80 minutes had expired, saw Wales complete a hat-trick of victories over the Aussies for the first time since 1975.
Wales believe they are emerging in fine fettle to defend their Six Nations crown next year
‘If you’d have said we’d finish the game clawing back a two-point deficit with a minute and a half to go, with that side, I’d have thought you were joking,’ he said.
‘It’s just a credit to all those young men. Ben Carter came on at about 15 minutes and had to call the lineouts. Just a marvellous job.
‘There are so many good stories here in terms of our development.’
Ellis Jenkins, back from a three-year injury absence to captain twice this autumn, is one who must now play in the Six Nations if fit.
‘It’s something I’m looking forward to,’ said Jenkins. I’m over the moon to be back playing for Wales.’
One of the rookies Ben Carter (centre) came on at about 15 minutes and had to call the lineouts