...Andrew Trimble in action during the 32-15 win over South Africa...
TRIMBLE ROMPS HOME IN PLAYER POLL: Somecrumbs of comfort for Ulster winger Andrew Trimble. He raced to victoryin our latest poll to find out who IrishRugby.ie users rated asIreland's man-of-the-match against the Springboks.
A tight hamstring is keeping the 22-year-old out of squad for thisweekend's clash with the Wallabies, but coach Eddie O'Sullivan reckonshe could be back next week to face the Pacific Islanders.
In the poll we asked you: "Who was your man-of-the-match against South Africa?"
Of the five options given, Ballymena clubman Trimble, who bagged hisfifth Test try in the 32-15 win over South Africa, came out on top witha massive 50% share of the vote. That equates to 1912 votes - well doneTrimby!
Gordon D'Arcy, who did get the bottle of bubbly last week as theofficial Guinness man-of-the-match, claimed 17%, while Neil Best (12%),Ronan O'Gara (11%) and Denis Leamy (10%) filled the other places.
Many thanks to the 3752 of you who cast your vote!
MARIUS IN THE MIDDLE: Not veryhard to guess what the tabloids will splash across the back pages onMonday if South African referee Marius Jonker has a howler at Lansdowne
The Kimberley-born official is a relative newcomer to the internationalscene but does have a dose of Southern Hemisphere experience,particularly in the Currie Cup.
It was only this season that he gained promotion to the IRB'sInternational Referees Panel, which includes 19 other officials, afterimpressing throughout the Super 14 and Currie Cup campaigns. He wasconsidered unlucky to miss out on taking charge of last month's CurrieCup final - that job went to South Africa's leading ref Jonathan Kaplan.
The 38-year-old Jonker has refereed just three Test matches to date -Uganda v Zimbabwe (August 2005), Samoa v Junior All Blacks (June 2006)and Fiji v Italy (June 2006) - so Sunday's Ireland-Australia clash will be a 'welcome to the big time' for the manwho has retired ref Andre Watson as his mentor.
Watson, now the South African Union's referees manager, was top classin his time. His last two games whistling Ireland, both in 2003, sawthe men in green beating France (at Lansdowne Road) and Argentina (atthe World Cup in Adelaide).
Jonker will fly south to Italy next week to referee the Azzurri's clash with Canada in Pordenone.
...Half century man Shane Horgan...
HORGAN'S HALF CENTURY: Leinster winger Shane Horgan will be winning his 50th cap when he takes to the Lansdowne Road sward on Sunday. The Drogheda man, who has started everyone of Ireland's games - 12 in all - since last November, is the Irish squad's most prolific scorer this season.
Since making his seasonal bow against Connacht in September, 'Shaggy' has scored four tries in five appearances for Leinster and Ireland. He dotted down for his province against Connacht and Munster (both Magners League) and Gloucester (Heineken Cup). Last weekend's effort against the Springboks was his 17th touchdown for Ireland, drawing him level with former record holder Brendan Mullin in joint-third on the all-time list.
The former Meath minor footballer, who was twice an All-Ireland underage cross country champion during his school days, is undoubtedly in the form of his life.
MATCH HISTORY: Tests Played: 25; Ireland Wins: 7; Australia Wins 18
June 2006 - Australia 37 Ireland 15, Subiaco Oval, Perth
November 2005 - Ireland 14 Australia 30, Lansdowne Road
November 2003 - RWC - Australia 17 Ireland 16, Telstra Dome, Melbourne
June 2003 - Australia 45 Ireland 16, Subiaco Oval, Perth
November 2002 - Ireland 18 Australia 9, Lansdowne Road
October 1999 - RWC - Ireland 3 Australia 23, Lansdowne Road
June 1999 - Australia 32 Ireland 26, Subiaco Oval, Perth
June 1999 - Australia 46 Ireland 10, Ballymore, Brisbane
November 1996 - Ireland 12 Australia 22, Lansdowne Road
June 1994 - Australia 32 Ireland 18, Aussie Stadium, Sydney
June 1994 - Australia 33 Ireland 13, Ballymore, Brisbane
October 1992 - Ireland 17 Australia 42, Lansdowne Road
October 1991 - RWC - Ireland 18 Australia 19, Lansdowne Road
June 1987 - Australia 33 Ireland 15, Concord Oval, Sydney
November 1984 - Ireland 9 Australia 16, Lansdowne Road
November 1981 - Ireland 12 Austrlaia 16, Lansdowne Road
June 1979 - Australia 3 Ireland 9, Sydney Cricket Ground
June 1979 - Australia 12 Ireland 27, Ballymore, Brisbane
January 1976 - Ireland 10 Australia 20, Lansdowne Road
October 1968 - Ireland 10 Australia 3, Lansdowne Road
May 1967 - Australia 5 Ireland 11, Sydney Cricket Ground
January 1967 - Ireland 15 Australia 8, Lansdowne Road
January 1958 - Ireland 9 Australia 6, Lansdowne Road
December 1947 - Ireland 3 Australia 16, Lansdowne Road
November 1927 - Ireland 3 Australia 5, Lansdowne Road
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