Australia beats Wales 24-18; Williams finale try
Updated: December 03, 2011, 14:17
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CARDIFF, Wales(AP) Australia scored three tries in 10 second-half minutes to beat Wales 24-18 in a one-off test at Millennium Stadium but couldn't stop retiring winger Shane Williams bowing out of international rugby on a high.
Playing his 87th and last test, the 34-year-old Williams brought the crowd of 62,000 to its feet by taking his haul of international tries to 60 with an injury-time score - his final act in a Wales shirt.
The result was certain by then, however, after the Wallabies took full advantage of Leigh Halfpenny's sin-binning just after the break to go over for converted tries through scrumhalf Will Genia, winger Lachie Turner and center Berrick Barnes while the Wales fullback was off the pitch.
"Sorry we couldn't win but this is a great Australia side,'' a tearful Williams told the Cardiff crowd.
"It's meant everything to me. Growing up, you want to play for Wales and I've had the best time of my life.''
Flyhalf James O'Connor booted all three conversions as well as a penalty for a nine-point haul for Australia, which was 6-3 behind at halftime but turned on the style in Halfpenny's absence - for tackling O'Connor without the ball - to down the Welsh six weeks after beating them in the third-place playoff at the World Cup.
Back to its full complement, Wales bagged tries by flyhalf Rhys Priestland and then Williams, whose late response couldn't prevent the hosts from slumping to a 15th defeat in 16 matches against the three southern hemisphere powers since 2008.
Williams' perfect finale partly made up for that, the diminutive winger slipping the tackle of Barnes to glide over and ground with a forward roll.
"I didn't see the overlap, I just saw the line and went for the try,'' said Williams, the third top international tryscorer of all time.
"I am going to miss it. I've enjoyed every moment, the ups and the downs, and I just want to say thank you to all the supporters.''
Halfpenny's yellow card turned the game - he had hardly left the field when Genia sniped his way over from close range before Turner took a long pass from O'Connor to cruise in on the left wing.
Barnes' converted try, following replacement Radike Samo's deft offload, meant Wales had conceded 21 points with its Lions fullback off the field.
"The unfortunate thing is we had the yellow card,'' Wales coach Warren Gatland said. "I felt sorry for Leigh because with the angle he came from, and the way the ball bounced, he thought it had gone in to O'Connor's hands.
"Unfortunately we conceded 21 points in that period, and that's the game.''
Australia 24 (Will Genia, Lachie Turner, Berrick Barnes tries; James O'Connor 3 conversions, penalty), Wales 18 (Rhys Priestland, Shane Williams tries; Rhys Priestland 2 penalties, conversion). HT: 3-6.