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Warren Gatland was delighted to see Wales edge past Australia in a bruising Rugby World Cup encounter he acknowledged they might well have lost previously.
The Six Nations Grand Slam champions raced out to a 23-8 half-time lead before Australia built momentum in the second period and set up a nervy finish with tries from Dane Haylett-Petty and Michael Hooper.
But Wales clung on to take a 29-25 victory and seize control of Pool D, potentially avoiding England and New Zealand in the quarter-finals and semis.
Gatland saw this as the type of clash Wales would have come up short in prior to the last 12 months in which they have forged a steely reputation, also beating Australia in a Test last November.
“It was pretty special,” he told ITV Sport. “It was a good first half and we hung on in the second half.
“Australia came at us and the boys are pretty sore and battered in the changing rooms. It was
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