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Wales took a huge step towards topping Pool D at the Rugby World Cup with a nail-biting 29-25 win over a fast-finishing over Australia in Tokyo.
First-half tries from Hadleigh Parks and the outstanding Gareth Davies made the Wallabies pay for a slow start and set up a result which should see Wales avoid a quarter-final date with England.
Warren Gatland’s men did have their 15-point half-time lead trimmed to one during the second period but held firm with help from Rhys Patchell’s vital third three-pointer.
The Scarlets fly-half only came on after Dan Biggar was forced off due to concussion, the lone setback for Wales on Alun Wyn Jones’ 130th cap, a national record.
Wales made a fast start in their tournament-opening win over Georgia and did the same on Sunday as a Biggar drop goal punished Australia’s turnover from the kick-off.
Fly-half Biggar was involved again for the first try of the match when Parkes rose high to claim an intelligent kick and extend the margin to 10 points in almost as many minutes.
Australia’s nerves eventually started to settle and the recalled Adam Ashley-Cooper got his team on the board by meeting Bernard Foley’s cross-field kick.
Foley missed the conversion but made amends with a three-pointer prior to the half-hour mark.
The influential Biggar failed a head injury assessment following a try-saving tackle on Samu Kerevi, yet his absence did nothing to hinder Wales.
His replacement, Patchell, nailed a pair of penalties and extended the lead to 23-8 at half-time after Davies made a second interception, this time from Will Genia, and raced clean through, albeit from a seemingly offsi
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