THE Australia script was changed at Principality Stadium but not in the manner that Wales wanted – the autumn series started with a hammering at the hands of the Wallabies rather than the familiar narrow defeat.

If anything Rob Howley’s side were flattered by the 32-8 score after a one-sided affair in which the tourists could have scored more than their five tries.

Hooker Stephen Moore and centres Reece Hodge and Tevita Kuridrani went over to earn a 20-3 half-time lead and they were followed over by fly-half Bernard Foley, who mercifully had an off day from the kicking tee, and wing Dane Haylett-Petty.

All Wales could muster was a superb solo effort by centre Scott Williams, who had been a late call-up for injured Scarlets teammate Jonathan Davies, and they must now rally for Tests against Argentina, Japan and South Africa.

Australia have endured a horror 2016 with seven defeats in their 10 Tests before Cardiff but were slick after their Rugby Championship campaign.

Wales, meanwhile, will be uttering the all-too-familiar gripes about being rusty in their autumn opener but for all their talk of failing to cope with the leap to Test intensity, it was the gulf in skills that was most alarming, if predictable.

It proved to be another chastening encounter against the dynamic Wallabies, who were sharper of mind and deed to expose Welsh deficiencies. ‘Footie’ comes naturally to the Aussies and in comparison everything looks sluggish and forced from the men in red.

The Wallabies have now won 12 on the spin since losing in Cardiff eight years ago and unlike many of the losses this was not a nip-and-tuck encounter that was decided on a few key moments.

The amount of empty seats could have been taken as a sign that the Welsh public were not confident of a different ending, especially not given the prices being asked. Those that chose to stay in the pub or their front room will be congratulating themselves on a good decision.

Wales were without three key figures up front in lock Alun Wyn Jones, flanker Sam Warburton and number eight Taulupe Faletau while they suffered another pre-match blow when Davies was ruled out because of a tight hamstring, although the call-up of Williams meant the midfield was not dramatically weakened.

The fear that missing key figures would be decisive proved to be correct but the magnitude of their loss was alarming.

Wales were on the back foot from the off with fly-half Foley’s neat chip finding Israel Folau, who offloaded to put powerful centre Kuridrani into the 22.

The hosts scrambled well in defence, with Scott Williams making a good tackle, but conceded a penalty for Foley to earn a 3-0 lead in the fifth minute.

Wales responded immediately with captain Gethin Jenkins getting over the ball at the breakdown from the restart to allow full-back Leigh Halfpenny to level.

But the Wallabies were straight back on the charge with a canny kicking game and a wealth of ball carrying options to stress the home defence.

This time it earned them five points with captain Moore demanding that a penalty five metres out was kicked to the corner before he hit his man at the lineout and guided a driving lineout over the line.

Foley made a mess of the conversion but Australia kept the momentum and were soon back on the attack with wing Alex Cuthbert exposed – he was oddly playing down the left with George North on the right – for Folau to burst through, Wales fly-half Dan Biggar sin-binned after pulling back Haylett-Petty.

It was remarkable that the Aussies were only five points to the good with another lineout repelled and Haylett-Petty shelling a simple pass and likely run-in after Foley scythed through midfield into the 22.

The Wallabies were making line breaks with ease but thankfully a combination of uncharacteristic errors and some desperate defence limited the damage, but Wales couldn’t afford to keep giving opportunities.

Biggar’s 10-minute break cost no points but no sooner was he back than the Aussies struck by cutting glorious lines and this time hanging onto the ball, Foley putting Hodge through with a lovely inside ball before the centre traded passes with Folau.

The kicker was once again wide from 15 metres in from the touchline and it was JUST 13-3 after 28 minutes of complete gold dominance.

Foley was wasteful from the tee and the normally reliable Halfpenny joined him by pushing a 40-metre effort after the Aussies were pinged for offside… and the visitors made the most of their escape.

Foley pulled the strings brilliantly again to expose the Welsh defence and work Kuridrani into space, the big centre crossing after using wing Henry Speight as a decoy.

The fly-half bizarrely kicked his toughest effort to make it 20-3 and if anything that scoreline flattered Wales as the teams heading to their changing rooms.

Wales were better at the start of the second half – not hard – but were playing their rugby in the middle third and time ticked in way on their hopes of at least making a game of it.

And for all the home side’s honest toil it was the tourists that struck when turnover ball was worked left, with a magnificent offload by lock Rory Arnold, for that man Foley to race over for 25-3 with 56 minutes on the clock.

Wales finally cracked the Aussies’ defence in the 63rd minute when Newport Gwent Dragons wing Hallam Amos, fresh on the field for North, went on the charge down the left and offloaded for Rhys Webb before centre Scott Williams put a grubber kick through to gather himself.

The score remained at 25-8 after a shocking Halfpenny conversion and then came Dragons lock Cory Hill’s big moment on an afternoon that many of his new teammates will be keen to forget, the 24-year-old coming on for Bradley Davies.

Wales had a glimpse of a second in the 70th minute but after cutting a lovely line off replacement fly-half Sam Davies, wing Alex Cuthbert failed to win the foot race with opposite number Haylett-Petty.

Another chance swiftly came but Amos, after delightful handling by flanker Justin Tipuric, was tackled into touch by replacement scrum-half Nick Frisby – good tackle but the Dragon will be disappointed with getting the timing of his dive wrong and was left clutching the left shoulder he dislocated at last year’s World Cup.

And the Aussies ensure their dominance was reflected on the scoreboard when Sam Davies’ ambitious but loose pass was picked off by Haylett-Petty, Foley making it 32-8 with his final kick with three minutes to go.

Such a gap was the least that they deserved.

Wales: L Halfpenny, A Cuthbert, S Williams, J Roberts, G North (H Amos 60), D Biggar (S Davies 63), R Webb (G Davies 64), G Jenkins (captain, N Smith 58), K Owens (S Baldwin 58), S Lee (T Francis 58), B Davies (C Hill 63), L Charteris, D Lydiate (J King ), J Tipuric, R Moriarty.

Scorers: try – S Williams; penalty – L Halfpenny

Australia: I Folau, D Haylett-Petty, T Kuridrani, R Hodge, H Speight, B Foley, N Phipps (N Frisby 66), S Sio (J Slipper 67), S Moore (captain), S Kepu ( A Alaalatoa 62), R Arnold (R Simmons 62), A Coleman, D Pocock (S Fardy 40), M Hooper, L Timani.

Scorers: tries – S Moore, R Hodge, T Kuridrani, B Foley, D Haylett-Petty; conversions – B Foley (2); penalty – B Foley

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Argus star man: Ross Moriarty