WALES suffered an eighth Test defeat on the spin after missing an opportunity against a new-look Australia in Sydney.

The Wallabies got the reign of Joe Schmidt off to a successful start after winning an error-strewn contest 25-16.

It was 13-10 at half-time after a strong response to tighthead Taniela Tupou’s try by Wales to earn a penalty try with a dominant lineout drive.

Wing Filipo Daugunu put the Aussies back in front and then, after a James Botham leveller was chalked off for obstruction, the clincher was a sublime counter-attack from full-back Tom Wright.

Wales must now lick their wounds for the second Test in Melbourne, and worryingly talisman Aaron Wainwright limped off at the death after a typically strong performance by the Dragons number eight on his 50th cap.

In truth, it was a poor quality game between a Wales side who were whitewashed in the Six Nations and a Wallabies side rebuilding under Schmidt after the disaster of the World Cup under Eddie Jones.

Warren Gatland will state that they are also a team in transition and point to the inexperience in their matchday 23.

However, it was another conservative performance and, with poor discipline and a shaky set piece, they stayed in the game through their kicking game.

Wales, as they did in defeat to South Africa at Twickenham, showed character when under the pump but they didn’t build any sustained pressure.

That meant they failed to exploit the Aussie new boys to record a first victory down under since 1969, with green and gold celebrations for 12 fixtures on the spin.

LIVELY: Dragons wing Rio Dyer on the charge for Wales in AustraliaLIVELY: Dragons wing Rio Dyer on the charge for Wales in Australia (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Ben Thomas, the Cardiff centre starting at fly-half to add physicality, enjoyed a settler from the tee in the third minute to put Wales 3-0 up after a no-arms tackle by experienced Wallabies prop James Slipper.

The Aussies responded to level through Noah Lolesio after pressure in the 22 but the fly-half then pushed a simple kick to take the lead wide after a searing break through midfield by wing Andrew Kellaway had got on the front foot.

However, he made no mistake to make it 6-3 in the 15th minute after a powerful scrum on a Welsh feed earned a penalty.

The Wallabies were bossing possession and Wales’ discipline was shocking, with six penalties inside the first quarter to earn a warning from novice French referee Pierre Brousset.

The breakdown offence by captain Dewi Lake that led to that ticking off allowed the Aussies to kick to the 22 and keep things tight for tighthead Tupou to smash over, Lolesio making it 13-3 from the tee.

Wales loosehead Gareth Thomas was shown yellow for being offside in the lead-up to the score but the tourists opted to go for the corner from a swift penalty despite being a man down.

A kick through on penalty advantage was grounded by Dragons wing Rio Dyer but only after a knock-on in the build-up by Owen Watkin.

No bother. Wales went back to the corner and earned a penalty try that levelled up the numbers with Fraser McReight sin-binned.

It remained 13-10 approaching half-time as the errors racked up from both sides, with the Aussies wasting a big chance to stretch clear in the 40th minute after another pointless trip to the 22.

Wales started the second half swiftly to work the ball right for debutant wing Josh Hathaway to grubber through, forcing the Wallabies to scramble and concede a five-metre scrum.

However, they got the attacking opportunity wrong with Dragons talisman Wainwright carrying and then passing to Hathaway who was bundled into touch.

Australia produced a good exit but then were pinged from the next play for Thomas to level the scored up in the 46th minute.

Back came the Wallabies with their one-out running but lock Christ Tshiunza came up with a timely penalty on the goalline after getting his mitts on the ball with a jackal.

The visitors failed to make the most of that escape, with a wonky lineout giving back possession.

The Aussies attacked and Filipo Daugunu went on a diagonal burst, Mason Grady tackled him five metres short but the winger benefitted from the surface allowing him to slide over to make it 18-13.

Wales again responded brilliantly through the influential Wainwright, who was denied by a tap tackle after a line break.

However, the Aussies infringed and were pinned in the corner from the penalty.

Over Wales went with flanker Botham, fresh on the field, benefitting from the dominant drive… only for the try to be chalked off for obstruction.

Australia went straight down the other end and hammered away at the line before a Lolesio kick-pass to Kellaway – a bizarre choice given a penalty would have taken them beyond a score – just eluded the winger.

It remained nip and tuck with Wales chipping away at the lead through the boot of Thomas with 15 minutes left.

But the Aussies struck again from a loose clearance kick by Hathawway with Wright countering majestically, getting past replacement centre Nick Tompkins on halfway, racing away and then beating last man Grady, who had an impossible task on the scramble.

Replacement Tom Lynagh made it 25-16 and Wales were up against it with 10 minutes to go.

Gatland looked to the bench and new fly-half Sam Costelow almost gave them a lifeline with a chip over the top but it just eluded Hathaway.

Another chance went courtesy of a steal at the lineout – a real area for improvement in Test two – and the Wallabies avoided a nervy finale.

Australia scorers: tries – Tupou, Daugunu; conversion – Lolesio, Lynagh; penalties – Lolesio (2).

Wales: L Williams (N Tompkins 63); J Hathaway, O Watkin, M Grady, R Dyer; B Thomas (S Costelow 72), E Bevan (K Hardy 72); G Thomas (K Mathias 41), D Lake (captain, E Lloyd 72), A Griffin (H O’Connor 74), C Tschiunza, D Jenkins (C Hill 65), T Plumtree (J Botham 56), T Reffell, A Wainwright.

Scorers: try – penalty; penalties – Thomas (3).

Referee: Pierre Brousset (France).