Ireland has downed an injury-ravaged Australia 18-9 at Landsdowne Rd, Dublin with a passionate, controlled display was how the ARU website started their report of today’s match
Ireland has downed an injury-ravaged Australia 18-9 at Landsdowne Rd, Dublin with a passionate, controlled display in wet and blustery conditions.
After the Wallabies managed an unconvincing win over Argentina’s Pumas last weekend this was Ireland’s best chance of defeating the Wallabies at home since their last win in 1968.
Injury forced out six players from Australia’s line-up against the Pumas which translated to eight positional changes for the match against the men in green, and in the driving rain and slippery pitch the Irish ensured that Australia’s make-shift team had to play with their wits.
Ireland cleverly mixed its kicking options to send Australia backwards time and time again which they matched with a tenacious defensive display to cut down Australia’s options.
This match was as much about smart Irish tactics and defensive fervour as it was about Australia’s shocking execution.
A make-shift team or not, the Wallabies still had to execute the basics, such as retaining possession, but time and time again the Wallabies lost ball in the loose, at the breakdown or at the lineout.
Making Australia’s situation worse was an escalating penalty count. A faultless kicking display by Ireland’s fly half Ronan O’Gara ensured Australia paid for its indiscretions. In the first half O’Gara faultlessly slotted four points and in the second he completed his tally of six perfect kicks with a further two.
In response, Australia’s Matt Burke, who returned to fullback duties for this match and was as equally pin-point with his boot by converting each opportunity that came his way, kicked a solitary penalty conversion in the first half and a further two in the second half.
But the opportunities were too few for the Wallabies, whom looked listless in contrast to the Irish whose passion, smart tactics and superb execution meant the opportunities and luck were to be Ireland’s tonight.
A serious shoulder injury to Owen Finegan has him in doubt for the match against England next weekend.