|Tries: Stewart, Karpani, Cramer, Wong Con: Dallinger Pen: Dallinger|
|Tries: Phillips, penalty try, Jones Con: Bevan|
Wasteful Wales ended their debut WXV campaign winless after failing to beat 14-player Australia in Auckland.
The Wallaroos played almost the entire second half without Siokapesi Palu who was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle, but they still managed to run in three tries.
Kelsey Jones’ late score ensured a dramatic finish, but Wales were once again left to rue missed chances.
They finish a disappointing tournament bottom of the table.
Australia broke the deadlock on the 15 minute mark, when some weak Welsh tackling allowed the ball to be shipped out wide for returning wing Maya Stewart to cross.
Stewart was back in the side after suffering a concussion in the opening round against England.
Wales had a chance to respond 10 minutes later but were penalised for being off their feet with the try line in sight.
They kept piling on the pressure and scored from a five metre lineout, Carys Phillips emerging from the base as she so often does.
Scrum-half Keira Bevan converted to give Wales the lead.
But Wales found themselves back under the cosh straight from the re-start after Bethan Lewis knocked-on what should have been a simple take.
They conceded another penalty for being off their feet which allowed Carys Dallinger to restore Australia’s lead from the tee.
Wales were lucky not to concede on the stroke of half-time, with the Wallaroos brought back for obstruction.
Australia were reduced to 14 players shortly after the break, with Palu given her marching orders for a high tackle on Jasmine Joyce – her shoulder in direct contact with Joyce’s head.
Wales spent the next five minutes camped in Australia’s 22 and Phillips was on her way to scoring a second when referee Hollie Davidson headed for the posts to award a penalty try.
Sera Naiqama was also shown a yellow card for illegally collapsing the maul.
Wales should have taken advantage of two extra players, but instead found themselves defending a five metre lineout.
Last week’s hat-trick hero Eva Karpani was able to touch down in the corner despite there being no jumpers in the lineout.
Wales then brought on their impact players, but it was Australia with all the possession and territory.
Wales’ narrow defence gave Australia numbers out wide and allowed Lori Cramer – the same player who kicked Australia to victory in last year’s World Cup – space to go over in the corner.
Ivania Wong crossed on the opposite wing soon after when Sisilia Smith got on the outside of Lleucu George and handed an easy scoring pass.
Replacement hooker Jones pulled one back for Wales in the dying minutes, again from Wales’ driving lineout, while Robyn Wilkins’ conversion hit the posts.
George gave the Welsh one last chance to attack with one of her trademark 50-22 kicks.
Wales took the lineout cleanly and threw everyone into the driving maul, but they were held up agonisingly short of the line.
It sparked an ugly scrap between the two sides before Davidson blew the final whistle.
Australia: Faitala Moleka; Maya Stewart, Georgina Friedrichs, Arabella McKenzie, Ivania Wong; Carys Dallinger, Layne Morgan; Brianna Hoy, Tania Naden, Eva Karpani, Sera Naiqama, Michaela Leonard (capt), Siokapesi Palu, Emily Chancellor, Kaitlan Leaney.
Replacements: Adiana Talakai, Bree-Anna Cheatham, Bride O’Gorman, Atasi Lafai, Ashley Marsters, Jay Huriwai, Cecilia Smith, Lori Cramer.
Wales: Jasmine Joyce; Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones (capt), Hannah Bluck, Carys Cox; Lleucu George, Keira Bevan; Gwenllian Pyrs, Carys Phillips, Sisilia Tuipolotu, Abbie Fleming, Georgia Evans, Kate Williams, Alex Callender, Bethan Lewis.
Replacements: Kelsey Jones, Abbey Constable, Cerys Hale, Alisha Butchers, Sioned Harries, Meg Davies, Robyn Wilkins, Kerin Lake.
Referee: Hollie Davidson (SRU)
Assistants: Sara Cox (RFU), Tiana Anderson (NZR)
TMO: Ian Tempest (RFU)