It has always been this way in Wales, in rugby we do not enjoy the mellow fruitfulness of Autumn, it is as if we descend into a semi hibernation, saving ourselves for winter, and the heralding of a new year that brings about a renewed vigour and an oval ball restoration, as a new Six Nations Championship appears on the horizon.
This year has been no different. Wales have struggled. As the leaves continue to fall, the players, like the dark brown leaves, have also fallen in significant numbers.
The injury list was extensive at the start of the campaign, and it has only increased week by week over the hectic bruising and exhausting month.
On Sunday night the Welsh casualty list had increased even further, the roll call of the wounded alarmingly high. Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Ken Owens, Ross Moriarty, Will Griff John, Leigh Halfpenny, Josh Navidi, James Botham, Dan Lydiate, Josh McLeod, Dewi Lake, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Rhodri Jones and potentially Louis Rees Zammit.
Autumn 2021 began with a heavy defeat against by the All Blacks. Wales battled and rattled the World Champions, South Africa, in the Cardiff rain, a week later, and fell agonisingly just short.
Fiji followed, now if there are two words that conjour up images of Welsh rugby anguish, they surely must be Autumn and Fiji, combine the two and you have the perfect storm, as was reflected on a sunny Remembrance Day in the capital, despite the flattering scoreline in Wales favour it was, as famously quoted by Yogi Berra “Deja Vu all over again”
Yesterday the last men standing took on the Wallabies in a match that incorporated just about every rugby thrill and spill possible, red card, yellow cards, a disputed try, and a last minute penalty that gave Wales victory by the narrowest of margins.
For a Wales a victory over Australia however ugly, will be rightly celebrated, and with the blooding of so many new faces, maybe for Wales this will bear fruit in future challenges that lie ahead.
The month of November is nearly over and thoughts will soon turn towards the Guinness Six Nations, there will be a spring in the step and pulses will race that little bit quicker, for Wales, winter is coming.