Sean McMahon reporting from the Tokyo Stadium
Wales have defeated Australia 29-25 at the Tokyo Stadium as they set their course on securing top spot in Pool D.
Wales produced a superb first-half performance as they scored tries through Hadleigh Parkes and the excellent Gareth Davies. Points from the boot of Dan Biggar, who was replaced by Rhys Patchell due to a HIA, also kicked points in the first half to have Wales leading 23-8 at the break.
A truly remarkable second half ensued as the Wallabies mounted an unlikely comeback. Tries from Dane Haylett-Petty and captain Michael Hooper brought the Wallabies to within one-point but Wales were able to hold on to secure a famous victory.
Wales set out their physical stall from the off as some excellent counter-rucking from Ken Owens saw Wales win quick turnover possession and this allowed Dan Biggar the time and space to kick a drop goal with just 37 seconds on the clock.
Australia looked dangerous throughout but their final pass often let them down. A Dane Haylett-Petty break saw the fullback race through only to spill the ball forward in contact. Wales spread the ball wide quickly with the advantage where Josh Adams made a lot of ground down the far touchline before his side eventually won a penalty. Biggar was off-target this time, however.
A try from Hadleigh Parkes after 10 minutes put Wales into a 10-0 lead as he collected a cross-field kick from Dan Biggar.
Michael Hooper was lucky not to receive a yellow card for a late hit on the Welsh out-half but then he and David Pocock combined to win a crucial turnover penalty. From this possession, the dangerous Samu Kerevi made a break up the near touchline and after the ball was recycled, Foley sent a cross-field kick to veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper who touched down to get the Wallabies back in the game.
Foley added three more points from the tee to get Australia within two but it was here that Wales kicked on as Patchell added three points before Davies intercepted a Will Genia pass to race the length of the field and touch down.
This gave Wales a 23-8 lead going into halftime.
At the beginning of the second half, Wales extended their lead with a Patchell drop-goal before a superb offloading passage of play from the Wallabies culminated in Pocock giving the final pass to Haylett-Petty to dot down. Matt Toomua, who had replaced Bernard Foley, notched the conversion to make an 11-point game.
It soon became a four-point game as the Wallabies laid siege to the Welsh line until eventually, Hooper grounded the ball at the base of the post which gave Toomua the easiest of opportunities to add the two extra points.
Wales were on the ropes with 15 minutes to go and Toomua added three points after Alun Wyn Jones went off his feet at the breakdown.
With just a point in it, Wales were offered a reprieve with a penalty which Patchell converted to put four points between the teams with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Australia had one final attack but they knocked on just outside the Wales 22 and they will have to make do with a losing bonus-point.
Wales: Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar (Patchell 28′), Gareth Davies, Wyn Jones (Smith 48′), Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones, Aaron Wainwright (Wainwright 48′), Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi.
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Aaron Shingler, Ross Moriarty, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin.
Australia: Dane Haylett-Petty, Adam Ashley-Cooper (Beale 48′), James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Bernard Foley (Toomua 45′), Will Genia (White 52′), Scott Sio, Silatolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa, Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (c), Isi Naisarani (Salakaia-Loto 68′).
Replacements: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Adam Coleman, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Nic White, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale.