Woeful Wales failed to recover from a first-half horror show as Australia recorded an emphatic triumph at the Millennium Stadium.
Wallabies record emphatic win in Wales
Woeful Wales failed to recover from a first-half horror show as Australia recorded an emphatic triumph at the Millennium Stadium. While the Wallabies romped over for three tries in 16 minutes, Wales also lost three players injured - Shane Williams, Leigh Halfpenny and Matthew Rees. But the casualties could not mask a miserable performance, with centre Digby Ioane, lock James Horwill, flanker David Pocock and substitute hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau all touching down, while fly-half Matt Giteau booted 13 points. Wales' points came from three Stephen Jones penalties and an early Halfpenny strike, yet they rarely threatened in attack and were defensively sub-standard. It was the first time in 11 Tests this year that Wales had leaked four tries or more - and defence coach Shaun Edwards will inevitably conduct a brutal inquest. Wales boss Warren Gatland, meanwhile, must reflect on the second-heaviest defeat of his 22-Test reign, and the biggest loss in Cardiff that resulted in his team being booed off. He wanted his team to make a statement going into their Six Nations opener against struggling England in 10 weeks' time, but Martin Johnson's men should not lose any sleep. Wales players fell off tackles far too easily, and Australia needed no second invitation to wreak havoc. In Giteau, Ioane and scrum-half Will Genia, Australia possessed the game's most creative players, with Giteau bouncing back admirably from his Murrayfield torment last Saturday when a missed injury-time conversion meant Scotland beat the Wallabies 9-8. The result was never in doubt following Australia's initial scoring blitz, and a 74,339 crowd was stunned into relative silence for long periods. Currently sixth in the official world rankings, they had backed themselves to end their autumn series by claiming the Wallabies' scalp for a second successive season. But all the performance served in doing was providing Gatland with graphic evidence that Wales have a huge amount of hard work ahead if they are to be serious World Cup challengers in 2011. Wales sorely missed the presence of their injured captain Ryan Jones, while they encountered immense trouble at scrum-time, where Australia's front-row dominated throughout. The loss of Jones meant Andy Powell moving to No 8, while Newport-Gwent Dragons flanker Danny Lydiate featured at blindside and prop Gethin Jenkins took over as skipper. Wales immediately found themselves on the back foot, falling 8-0 behind in as many minutes, with Australia scoring either side of the forlorn Williams' premature exit. Giteau followed an opening 50-metre penalty by rifling a kick into space that unlocked Wales' defence and allowed Ioane a simple finish. The Wallabies looked like scoring every time they attacked, and an inevitable second try arrived when props Benn Robinson and Ben Alexander linked superbly in open play and Horwill finished off. Amid a flurry of Australian points, Wales also lost Halfpenny and Rees ? hooker Rees was stretchered off ? and the home side looked hopelessly devoid of ideas. Pocock scored the Wallabies' third try, and all Wales could muster were three Jones penalties and a Halfpenny strike as they exited at half-time 23-12 adrift, having been horribly outclassed. The second period had a depressing air of inevitability about it from a home perspective, and Wales were clinically finished off when Giteau carved them open and Polota-Nau touched down. Giteau added the extras, putting his seal on a high-class Wallabies display packed with adventure, flair and deadly attacking execution. Wales could only stand and witness the gulf in class, and their three injured Lions ? Mike Phillips, Lee Byrne and Adam Jones ? cannot return quickly enough. Mercifully for Gatland, all three should be back for the Twickenham clash on February 6, yet the healing process in terms of battered Welsh egos could prove a much longer process. * PA Sport