TWICKENHAM, United Kingdom (AFP) - Bernard Foley's boot and brilliant defence under siege saw Australia beat Wales 15-6 on Saturday (Oct 10) to top the World Cup Pool of Death.
Australia scored their eleventh straight victory over Wales despite being two men down at one stage and under a relentless red onslaught.
Foley kicked five penalties to get all the Australia points in front of 80,863 people at Twickenham. Dan Biggar kicked two penalties for Wales.
First place in Pool A gave the Wallabies a quarter final against Scotland. Wales get a tougher clash facing South Africa.
The Wallabies crucially remain undefeated in a tournament where every World Cup winner has reached the final without losing a game.
Wales captain Sam Warburton paid tribute to the fortress put along the Wallaby touchline.
"We threw absolutely everything at Australia and you have got to give them a heck of a lot of credit in defence - they were outstanding," he said.
"We backed ourselves to go for the try but we couldn't get it," he told ITV television.
"I am so proud of the guys, we threw everything at them. I could not ask any more of our players."
WALLABIES LOSE TW O
Australia, leading 12-6, were reduced to 13 men heading into the final quarter when Will Genia and Dean Mumm were sin-binned within minutes of each other.
But Wales could not take advantage of their two extra men to add to their score after Australia led 9-6 at the break.
Australia made three changes to the side that knocked England out of the World Cup with an impressive 33-3 win over at Twickenham last weekend. They lost Michael Hooper to a one match suspension but remained tenacious.
Wales boss Warren Gatland made six changes, including moving powerhouse wing George North to centre in one of two positional switches.
Wales came close to an early try when they turned over ball at an Australia scrum but North was held up.
Wales dominated the opening quarter but all they had to show for it was Biggar's fourth-minute penalty.
Meanwhile Hooper's replacement Sean McMahon proved his worth with a thumping tackle on the Wales No 10.
Australia prop Scott Sio forced a penalty wide on the right and Foley, the 28-point hero of the win over England, made no mistake to level the match.
Foley and Biggar then exchanged penalties, with Wales competing fiercely at the breakdown, before the Australian nudged his side in front.
Biggar then missed his first goal-kick in 16 attempts this World Cup before veteran centre Matt Giteau's long-range effort on the stroke of half-time fell short to leave the Wallabies 9-6 in front.
Both sides pressed hard in the second half, with Australia's David Pocock winning an important turnover after a charging run by opposing No 8 Taulupe Faletau.
Faletau carelessly gave away a penalty in front of his own posts when neck-rolling Scott Fardy out of a ruck. Foley duly made it 12-6 in the 50th minute.
Wales centre Jamie Roberts tried to make ground on the crash ball, but another immense effort by the Welsh pack ended in a turnover.
Wales came again and it needed a fine tackle by Foley on North to snuff out a try.
Australia found themselves a man down in the 57th minute when scrum-half Genia was sin-binned for obstructing Wales' quick tap penalty.
Wales laid siege to the Wallaby line from a couple of scrums and drives.
Faletau went over the try-line but referee Craig Joubert called for replay assistance and it was ruled the back-row had knocked on.
Australia were down to 13 men when lock Dean Mumm was yellow-carded for taking a man out at the line-out.
North should have scored a try when put through in space but was hauled down by replacement Ben McCalman in sight of the line.
Further great Australian defence, allied to Wales' obsession with the inside pass, prevented a try.
Then, almost inevitably, a Wallaby break-out led to another simple penalty chance for Foley, who put the game beyond Wales reach with eight minutes left.
Wales wing Alex Cuthbert was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on only for Foley, surprisingly, to miss the ensuing penalty chance.
Warburton admitted that defeat had made Wales World Cup more difficult.
"It is tougher," he said. "But there is no easy way to the World Cup final."