IRELAND 10 AUSTRALIA 15, Ravenhill (Att: 6,715)
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Niall Morris, Michael Sherry
Australia: Tries: Andrew Barrett 2; Con: Rowan Kellam; Pen: Rowan Kellam
Scott Deasy took a leaf out of his fellow Corkman Ronan O'Gara's book when he sent a cross-field kick out to the right in the 14th-minute that led to Ireland's opening try. Big Blackrock winger Niall Morris collected the inch perfect kick and jinked over to score.
The conversion kick was missed but Ireland, thanks to a great effort from the pack and some notable runs from centre Eoin O'Malley, held firm to lead 5-0 at half-time.
Australia's world looked like crumbling before them, just before the interval, when Welsh referee James Jones dispatched their scrum half Jeremy Su'a to the sin-bin and then number eight Michael Uoka was sent-off for using a swinging arm at a ruck.
But Phil Mooney's side regrouped and dominated the early stages of the second half, despite their numerical disadvantage. Two quick tries in the left corner from winger Andrew Barrett shot the Aussies ahead, and although replacement hooker Michael Sherry muscled over for Ireland's second try, a late Rowan Kellam penalty saw the champions take the spoils.
Ireland, who lost lock Brian Cawley to a yellow card four minutes into the second period, had a chance to level the game at 12-12 but O'Malley's conversion attempt of Sherry's try just dropped under the crossbar. The UCD centre also sent a drop goal attempt to the left of the posts, but the Irish can still take much from this battling performance as their attentions turn to Monday's duel with Scotland (Ravenhill, kick-off 7.30pm).
TIME LINE: 14 mins - Ireland try: Niall Morris - 5-0; 27 mins - Australia yellow card: Jeremy Su'a; 33 mins - Australia red card: Michael Uoka; Half-time - Ireland 5 Australia 0; 40 mins - Australia try: Andrew Barrett - 5-5; conversion: Rowan Kellam - 5-7; 46 mins - Australia try: Andrew Barrett - 5-12; 68 mins - Ireland try: Michael Sherry - 10-12; 72 mins - Australia penalty: Rowan Kellam - 10-15; Full-time - Ireland 10 Australia 15
IRELAND: Adam Craig (Instonians); Niall Morris (Blackrock), Eoin O'Malley (UCD), Conor Cleary (St. Michael's College), Patrick Brophy (St. Michael's College); Scott Deasy (PBC Cork), Kris Greene (St. Mary's); Paul Karayiannis (RBAI/Queen's), Stephen Douglas (Ballymena), Matthew Nelson (Ballynahinch), Brian Cawley (UCD), Ian Nagle (Glenstal Abbey, Limerick), Kieran Essex (CBC Cork/UCC), Rajan Reilly (St. Michael's College), Paul Ryan (Blackrock) (capt).
Replacements used: David Foley (UL Bohemians) for Cawley (48 mins), Patrick Mallon (St. Michael's College) for Reilly (51), Jason Harris Wright (Blackrock College) for Essex, Jamie Smith (Ballymena) for Deasy, Michael Sherry (Ard Scoil Ris/Garryowen) for Douglas (all 58). Not used: Ian Leonard (St. Michael's College), Patrick McCabe (Dublin University FC), Alan Gaughran (Buccaneers), Harry McAleese (Ballynahinch), Murray Kinsella (Newtown School, Waterford), Tommy Seymour (Down High School).
AUSTRALIA: Peter Betham; Alfi Mafi, Rowan Kellam, Brett Gillespie (capt), Andrew Barrett; Patrick McCabe, Jeremy Su'a; Tetera Faulkner, James Hanson, Daniel Palmer, Rob Simmons, Sam Wykes, Ben McCalman, Rodney Maa, Michael Uoka.
Replacements used: Ben Daley for Palmer (50 mins), Jason Ryan for Su'a (61). Not used: Daniel Penca, Albert Anae, Adam Campbell, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Chris Harkins, Dan Robinson, Mitchell Inman, Blair Connor, John Grant.
Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Touch Judges: Jerome Garces (France), Philip Bosch (South Africa)