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Wallabies deal to Wales 21-18 to win RWC bronze

Updated: October 21, 2011, 05:24

AUCKLAND, New Zealand(AP) Australia overcame early injuries to star backs Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale to subdue Wales 21-18 and win the Rugby World Cup third-place playoff at Eden Park on Friday.

The playoff for bronze was always about who could switch back on mentally after their semifinals disappointments, and the Wallabies rebounded superbly. Their vaunted backline was back to its flashy best in the first half, but after more injuries in a campaign plagued by them, they relied on grit and a ball-jolting defense to win.

The result, which flattered the Welsh, left them in double pain after narrowly losing to France with 14 men in the semifinals. The Welsh wanted to prove they would have been worthy finalists, but needed a try from a forward pass to grab a brief lead in the second half, and matched the Wallabies with a second try only deep in injury time.

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