(CNN)Wales withstood a frenetic second half fightback from two-time champion Australia to win their crucial Rugby World Cup Pool D match 29-25 in Tokyo Sunday.
The Six Nations champion led 23-8 at the interval before the Wallabies came within a score of completing a winning comeback in a thrilling finale.Follow @cnnsport The heavyweight clash held the key to qualification to the knockout stages from a tough Pool and it was Wales who will go forward to its remaining matches with a perfect record after two games.The Australians scored three tries against two for Wales, but ultimately it was two dropped goals from Dan Biggar and Rhys Patchell at the start of each half that proved key ingredients in a famous victory for Warren Gatland’s men.Patchell, who came on as a replacement for fly-half Biggar after he suffered a head injury, also kicked a crucial penalty after Australia had closed to within a point.Read MoreGatland knew his men had been in an epic battle and was a relieved man to see his side hold out.”Tough second half but the boys pulled through,” he said.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 29, 2019 “Very pleased with the first half. We didn’t have a lot of ball in the second half and Australia kept coming at us and putting us under a huge amount of pressure. But we were able to hold on thankfully.”Gatland’s side made a dream start within a minute, stealing the ball before scrum half Gareth Davies found Biggar, who slotted over his drop-kick with just 37 seconds on the clock, the fastest score of its kind in Rugby World Cup history.The large Welsh contingent in the near 48,000 crowd in the Tokyo Stadium were soon in full voice and it reached a crescendo on 13 minutes as Biggar provided the perfect crosskick for Hadleigh Parkes to gather and go over for a fine try.READ: Host Japan stuns Ireland in thrillerREAD: Japan fans expect after shock win over IrelandWith the conversion from Biggar, Wales led 10-0 but the Wallabies responded with a similar try as Bernard Foley’s kick found veteran Adam Ashley Cooper to cross.Foley missed a straightforward conversion before the influential Biggar went off with a head injury after bundling Samu Kerevi into touch, with Patchell coming on.Patchell and Foley swapped penalties before Kerevi was controversially penalized for a high tackle as he fended off Patchell with his arm while on a run.
— 10 Sport (@10SportAU) September 29, 2019 Wallabies captain Michael Hooper openly remonstrated with referee Romain Poite over the award and to increase Australian anger Patchell slotted over the penalty to stretch the Welsh lead to 16-8.It was to get far worse for the Wallabies as the brilliant Davies intercepted a deep pass from Will Genia to sprint home from over 60 meters for a superb try.Gareth Davies of Wales charges towards the line to score his team’s second try during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group D game between Australia at Tokyo Stadium.Patchell converted to make at 23-8 but the second half saw a remarkable Wallabies revival albeit after Patchell had worked his drop goal magic to extend his side’s lead to 18 points.David Pocock cleverly set up Dane Haylett-Petty to score the Wallabies’ second try, Matt Toomua converting.With the pressure increasing on the Welsh defense, led by skipper Alun-Wyn Jones, winning a Wales-record 130th cap, it was only a matter of time before Australia struck again, Hooper being driven over for his side’s third try.Australia’s full back Dane Haylett-Petty scores a try as his side fought back against Wales during the Rugby World Cup Pool D match at the Tokyo Stadium.Toomua converted and then kicked a 69th minute penalty to cut the Welsh lead to just one point.Patchell then held his nerve to take his individual tally to 14 points and give his side a four-point cushion it held to the end in a tense last few minutes with both teams at full stretch and tiring. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Australia and head coach Michael Cheika who was critical of the refereeing and key penalties awarded against his side.”We’ve go to look after players, not for doctors and lawyers. It’s got to be for the players,” he said.”Any positives we take we’ll keep to ourselves,” he added.