AUSTRALIA’S hoodoo over Wales continued at the Principality Stadium tonight as the southern hemisphere giants completed a 13th successive win over Warren Gatland’s men.

A try by Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper just before the interval and one from full-back Kurtley Beale in the second half came at crucial times for the visitors.

Tatafu Polota-Nau and Adam Coleman also touched down for Australia in the first period, while Steff Evans and his wing replacement, Dragons ace Hallam Amos, replied either side of the break.

This fixture 12 months ago was all but won by Australia inside the opening 40 minutes after a disastrous start to the 2016 autumn series for Wales.

The same couldn’t be said of today’s encounter, although the Wallabies did go into the break in front on the scoreboard, a try right on half-time giving them a nine-point advantage.

There was an uncharacteristically shaky start from Taulupe Faletau on the eve of his 27th birthday, the number eight knocking on with virtually his first touch of the game.

Faletau spilled possession again minutes later when taking the ball from Owen Williams, before Liam Williams charged down a Reece Hodge clearance only for Bernard Foley to calmly clear.

Leigh Halfpenny put Wales in front with a ninth-minute penalty, but the 13th minute proved unlucky for the hosts as the visitors crossed the whitewash for the first time.

A Foley cross-kick had piled pressure on Steff Evans and, having conceded the lineout, the hosts were powerless to stop a rolling maul which resulted in hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau scoring.

Foley converted and some Wales fans may have feared a repeat of the previous meeting between the sides in Cardiff was on the cards.

It wasn’t, and there was a sign of things to come as Jonathan Davies made an initial break and fed Liam Williams who cut inside but the former then knocked on.

However, soon after Wales were celebrating a well-taken try by Scarlets speedster Evans.

Scrum-half Gareth Davies was the architect, doing brilliantly to evade several tacklers near halfway before setting up the position from which Evans eventually crossed.

Wales didn’t panic as the ball swept from right to left, with Jake Ball, Dan Biggar, Owen Williams, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny involved.

Evans still had a bit to do but he cut inside and fended off the tackle of Beale to touch down. Halfpenny converted.

But it took just four minutes for the Aussies to respond in kind.

A series of phases were defended manfully by the home side and it looked as though the opportunity had been wasted when a Foley chip took a nasty bounce.

Marika Koroibete used his strength to get to within inches of the line and lock Adam Coleman took Will Genia’s flat pass to go over unopposed. Foley added the extras.

Hodge and Halfpenny then traded penalties to leave the wallabies leading 17-13 – but there was a sting in the tail for the Welsh.

Another series of surges at the Wales line were defended stoutly yet again but Australia always seem to come away from an opponents’ 22 with points. And that’s what happened.

The ball was moved right and Hooper went himself to just about get over in the corner.

Wales knew they needed to score first in the second half to stay in with a chance of ending their horrendous run of defeats against Australia.

And after a period of toing and froing it was Halfpenny with a penalty who got the scoreboard ticking.

It didn’t look like being Faletau's day as he knocked on yet again with Wales on the attack.

Although moving across field, had worked some space thanks to Owens, Rob Evans, Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi, Biggar, Davies and Halfpenny.

Another opening came following a Steff Evans grubber kick but this time Jonathan Davies failed to spot Biggar on his inside and the chance went begging.

Halfpenny then missed a penalty shot from halfway, before the Wallabie landed the killer blow.

Nearly everyone in the stadium was scratching their heads when Beale sprinted clear to score unopposed under the posts following a tackle on Steff Evans.

Some of the Wales player stopped thinking foul play had occurred, but no, Beale had stripped the ball from Evans and simply picked himself up and scooted over.

It really was a kick in the teeth for Wales and Foley’s conversion didn’t help matters.

Gatland opted to use his replacements in a last-ditch bid to haul in the Australians, with Amos, Nicky Smith, Cory Hill and Owen Watkins on for Steff Evans, Rob Evans, Ball and Owen Williams.

The hosts may have been 13 points adrift but, with Hooper having seen yellow, the game was still there for the taking with 10 minutes left.

And but for some poor execution near the line Wallabies line, Wales could have staged a dramatic comeback.

Amos was involved in a couple of near misses, while wales twice knocked on just metres from the whitewash.

Dragons prop Leon Brown and Brynmawr’s Sam Cross both came on for their debuts, and the two got into the action straight away.

Gatland’s men didn’t give up and Amos reduced the arrears as he squeezed in at the corner for a second international try.

Time was left on the clock to kick-off but with Halfpenny missing the conversion Wales could only get to within one point – they couldn’t quite manage it though.

Wales: L Halfpenny, L Williams, J Davies, O Williams, S Evans; D Biggar, G Davies, R Evans, K Owens, T Francis, J Ball, A W Jones (capt), A Shingler, J Navidi, T Faletau. Reps: K Dacey, N Smith, L Brown, C Hill, S Cross, A Davies, O Watkin, H Amos.

Australia: K Beale; M Koroibete, T Kuridrani, S Kerevi, R Hodge; B Foley, W Genia; S Sio, T Polota-Nau, S Kepu, R Simmons, A Coleman, N Hanigan, M Hooper (capt), S McMahon. Reps: S Moore, T Robertson, A Alaalatoa, M Philip, B McCalman, N Phipps, K Hunt, H Speight.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)