IRB Under-19 World Cup: Saturday, April 9Australia U-19 23 Ireland U-19 0, ABSA Stadium, DurbanScorers: Australia: Tries: Liam Bibo, Tajhon Malaita; Cons: Bibo 2; Pens: Bibo 3
Pat Murray's side finished ninth in the group standings, having begun their campaign with a heartening 16-0 defeat of Georgia.
And just as their 32-7 loss to hosts South Africa had been built on by a couple of defensive lapses, a brace of turnovers at Durban's ABSA Stadium saw the Irish come acropper against the Wallabies.
"The turnovers killed us. Both their tries came from turnovers and that resulted in the pressure of having to play catch-up rugby," admitted Murray, who watched his side concede second half tries to Liam Bibo and Tajhon Malaita.
Left winger Bibo kicked two penalties to two lengthy misses from Ireland's captain and full-back Robert Kearney in the first half.
The seventh-ranked Irish threw everything at the Aussies in the first half, but they unfortunately had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.
In heavy heat, Bibo and full-back Malaita breached the wilting Irish defence to guarantee their place in semi-finals and send Murray's men skittling down to ninth, from seventh.
Kearney said: "I thought the teams were evenly matched but that did not transfer onto the scoreboard. We had some trouble with the interpretations of the breakdown rules."
A win over the 12th-ranked Japanese - 81-3 losers to Wales on Saturday - is now vital for the Ireland U-19s as they hope to finish out the tournament in as high a position as they can - namely ninth.
Should they progress, Murray's charges will face the winners of Scotland and Georgia at King's Park on Sunday.
Australia U-19: Tajhon Malaita; Sean Hennessy, Adam Watson, Anthony Faingaa, Liam Bibo; Scott Daruda (Capt), Dominic Fuller; Pekahou Cowan, Saia Faingaa, John Ulugia, Richard Stanford, David Dennis, Pauliasi Taumoepeau, Ryan Newman, Leroy Houston.
Replacements used: Jono Jenkins for Newman (43-50 mins), Jack Kennedy for Ulugia (59), Ed Gower for Dennis, Patrick Pearce for Fuller (both 66), Jeremy Tilse for Cowan, Tom Hockings for Taumoepeau, Jenkins for Newman, Ben Bates for Hennessy (all 68). Not used: Geoff Abram, Mathew Brandon, Steve Hillman.
(15) Robert Kearney (UCD) (Capt)(14) Frank Daly (Thomond)(13) Fergus McFadden (Clongowes)(12) Darren Cave (Sullivan Upper School)(11) Dale Black (Portadown)(10) Evan Ryan (UCC)
Replacements used: Killian Lett (UCD) for Ryan (42 mins), Gary Walsh (UL Bohemians) for Black (50-58), Daniel Dawson (Cooke) for McGowan (61-67), Adrian Saunderson (Ballyclare) for O'Reilly, Brendan Lynch (Rotherham Titans) for Griffin (both 63), Dawson for F Walsh, Robert Boles (Colstons Collegiate School) for Daly (both 65). Not used: Conor Muldoon (Galwegians), Greg Cooney (Old Belvedere), Eric Moloney (UCC), Kieran Moloney (Blackrock College RFC), Devon Toner (Lansdowne).
Coach: Pat MurrayAssistant Coach: Bryan HylandManager: Michael Cunningham
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Ireland U-19 Results/fixture:
Friday, April 1: Ireland U-19 16 Georgia U-19 0, Kings Park (3)
Tuesday, April 5: South Africa U-19 32 Ireland U-19 7, Woodburn Oval
Saturday, April 9: Australia U-19 23 Ireland U-19 0, ABSA Stadium
Wednesday, April 13: 9th-12th Play-offs: Ireland U-19 v Japan U-19, Glenwood High School, 2.30pm