Jenkins admits Wales were too expansive against Wallabies
Stand-in skipper Gethin Jenkins admitted Wales paid the price for playing too expansively as they went down 21-18 to Australia in the World Cup third place play-off at Eden Park.
Australia had to cope with the loss of two key players in the backline during the first half with both Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper forced off, the mercurial fly-half having torn his anterior cruciate ligament.
But they still managed to grab the first try through Berrick Barnes to lead 7-3 at the break and after Shane Williams had marked his penultimate game with a try ten minutes into the second half, Ben McCalman settled things five minutes from time.
Wales did at least manage a second try from Leigh Halfpenny deep into added time after a long period of pressure in the Australian 22.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
But Jenkins insisted that despite the failure to match their best-ever World Cup performance of third in 1987, the side were pleased with the progress they had made during the tournament.
He said: “I'm proud of the way we finished, we've just come up short again, but we've enjoyed the tournament.
“We tried to play a little too much rugby and it cost us with turnovers and the tries they scored. But we kept working to the end.
“It's a shame we couldn’t finish it off with the win.
“We know how good Australia are, and they competed well.
“To get to the semis is a great achievement for this group of players.
“We talked about creating history and to come fourth, while it's not as good as third, is still an improvement on the last couple of World Cups.”
Despite the early loss of Beale, the Australians made the better start with Cooper delaying a pass to send Barnes clean through for the opening try after just ten minutes.
However the maverick Reds No.10 lasted only until midway through the half before he was also replaced, with Barnes taking over the fly-half duties.
Wales pulled back three points through James Hook after the Australian scrum was penalised but that was all Warren Gatland’s team could manage before the break.
They received a slice of good fortune early in the second half though as Wayne Barnes somehow missed a huge forward pass from Hook in the build-up to Williams’ try which put Wales in front.
But the lead was short-lived as James O’Connor knocked over two penalties, before Barnes made it 16-8 with a well-struck drop goal.
Stephen Jones brought Wales back to within five with a penalty but when McCalman crossed with five minutes remaining after a charge from Saia Fainga’a, the result was beyond doubt.
Wales were however rewarded after bombarding the Australian line when they got the ball wide to Halfpenny to stroll over.