Wales recorded their biggest-ever win over Australia to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup and inflict misery on Eddie Jones’ side. 

The Wallabies have never exited in the group stages before but they are facing that humiliation after the 40-6 defeat. The enigmatic Jones revelled in his famed role as pantomime villain pre-match as he confidently, perhaps arrogantly, predicted that his Australia side would certainly win but they were dominated throughout and failed to cross the try line.

Led by the superb Jac Morgan and Gareth Davies, Wales enjoyed completed control at the breakdown as Australia’s scrum wilted under intense pressure. Warren Gatland’s side lost talisman Dan Biggar after just 12 minutes but it didn’t destabilise their performance as Gareth Anscombe stepped up to inspire the Welsh to a famous win.

Meetings between these sides have been notoriously tight, with 11 of the last 15 encounters decided by seven points or less but Wales fully deserved their 34-point winning margin.

Wales didn’t need any extra motivation given the jeopardy involved in the Pool C showdown but silencing the former England head coach Jones represented a welcome bonus and he was loudly booed when his face appeared on the big screens. 

Ticketing issues have caused considerable concern during the World Cup and they, depressingly, continued at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais. Some Welsh fans experienced difficulties entering the stadium but a belting rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau proceeded a perfect start as Davies went under the posts after just three minutes. 

READ MORE: Scotland keep World Cup dream alive with seven-try haul over Tonga

It was a brilliantly constructed move from a line-out as Aaron Wainwright ensured quick ball before Nick Tompkins’ inside pass released Morgan and Davies was on his shoulder to finish. 

Biggar converted but it was the last meaningful involvement from the veteran fly-half as he sustained a shoulder injury tackling Nick Frost in a significant blow. Ben Donaldson pinged two penalties to bring Australia to within a point as they began to assert some pressure deep in Welsh territory. 

Anscombe has endured a terrible time with injury but he was thrust into the limelight after replacing Biggar. The Ospreys fly-half hit the post from a relatively straight penalty before being crunched by a huge hit from Marika Koroibete, but he responded well by kicking Wales into a 10-6 lead at the halfway stage of the first half - it was remarkably Anscombe’s first ever World Cup points.

Jones faced huge criticism following the opening defeat to Fiji with many questioning his decision to leave experienced players at home. 17 of the 33-man squad are World Cup debutants and their naivety was highlighted when they opted to kick to the corner, rather than goal, on 26 minutes.

Captain David Porecki failed to find the green and gold from the line-out as Wales cleared the ball into the opposing in-goal area. A penalty quickly ensued as Anscombe extended the Welsh advantage as the game slowed down following a ferocious start. 

More Australian ill-discipline allowed Anscombe to give Wales a ten-point lead at half-time. It was almost a dream first half for Warren Gatland’s men as George North released winger Louis Rees-Zammit burst towards the try line but some brilliant Australian defence held the ball up and prevented a brilliant try. 

Australia needed a reaction in the second half to preserve their qualification hopes but they couldn’t live with Wales’ physicality and intensity.

Anscombe kicked 23 points for but his trusted boot also set up Wales’ second try on 48 minutes. He produced a delightful chip under pressure and Tompkins was more alert than a beleaguered Aussie defence to collect and score. Tompkins’ role in the Welsh side has been questioned recently but he stepped up when it mattered most after declaring pre-match that it was the biggest game in his career. 

Wales’ front row capitalised on James Slipper’s withdrawal and they punished Australia at the scrum as they were repeatedly penalised. It was a completely inept performance from Australia and they never looked capable of mounting a comeback. Anscombe added an audacious drop-goal before Morgan capped a captain’s performance and dream night with a try from a line-out drive. 

Wales inflicted Australia’s biggest-ever defeat in the World Cup and they will enjoy a two-week break before continuing their journey.