A late solo try by centre Izaia Perese denied Wales a share of the spoils as Australia completed a smash and grab raid to secure a 24-17 victory in the opening game of the World Rugby U20 Championship
Wales had hauled themselves to 17-17 with time ticking away with an Arwel Robson drop goal but failure to regain possession from the re-start gifted the Aussies the ball and Izaia Perese made them pay the ultimate price by bursting through a weak defence to send Wales crashing to defeat.
It was a bitter pill to swallow as Wales contested throughout against the dangerous Australians.
Australia attacked from the outset and dominated the early exchanges but Wales held their nerve and went in front after four minutes.
Wales worked the ball left, fly half Arwel Robson chipped across field and hooker Ellis Shipp caught the ball on the fly. He popped the ball up to the supporting Cameron Lewis and he raced over unopposed. Robson's conversion in tricky windy conditions put Wales 7-0 ahead.
Australia's abrasive approach shook Wales - winger Ryan Conbeer took a swinging arm from Izaia Perese into the head. The linesman put his flag out but then inexplicably took it down when the move broke down.
James Botham proved a chip of the old block - he took particular heavy punishment but kept coming back for more. Aussie wing Simon Kennewell spent 10 minutes in the cooler for upending the Wales No 8 - he can consider himself fortunate it wasn't for the rest of the match.
Australia played more as individuals rather than as a team which hindered their progress. After scrum half Harrison Goddard knocked over a penalty in the 30th minute, one of their dangermen, wing Henry Hutchison, danced his way over from close range, evading opposite number Ryan Conbeer and last line of defence, Will Talbot-Davies. Goddard's touchline conversion gave Australia a 10-7 lead at the break.
Wales regained the lead in the 55th minute when Botham broke from a scrum inside his own half and tore down the touchline - he drew the last line and Blacker took the inside pass and sped clear to score out wide. Robson converted to put Wales 14-10 in front.
The lead was short-lived as replacement prop Harry Johnson-Holmes rumbled over from close range. Harry Nucifora added the conversion to put Australia back in front, 17-14.
Wales looked to have secured a share of the spoils when Robson slotted his drop goal but Perese had other ideas to condemn Wales to a heart breaking defeat.
Things don't get easier for Jason Strange's side as they now face a must-win game against England on Sunday.
Tries - Lewis, Blacker; Cons - Robson (2); Dgl - Robson
Tries - Hutchison, Johnson-Holmes, Perese; Cons - Goddard, Nucifora (2); Pens - Goddard