What It Said In The Papers after Ireland’s bril;liant victory over Australia.
Ireland had one player of genius, the best on the field or just about any rugby field right now, in their captain, the sublime Brian O’Driscoll. I never thought I would see a centre to match the incomparable Mike Gibson but O’Driscoll is that player. His aggressive running for gaps and sure tackling gave Ireland control of the midfield battles. But where were the blindside attacks by the Wallabies to take O’Driscoll out of the game? On one of the rare occasions when the Wallabies attacked the blindside, with Matt Burke coming into the line from a scrum and releasing Stirling Mortlock, Scott Staniforth almost scored a try.” Spiro Zavos, The Sydney Morning Herald.
So often on Saturday, balls were spilt well away from the advantage line, with no defender in sight. Something was seriously amiss, especially when overlaps were overlooked, and barge-ball tactics again became the prime mode of attack. That will not win anything, in particular World Cups. But what should hurt the Wallabies most is that the Irish, the butt of so many jokes over the years, were able to laugh long and hard at the Australians for a change. Many comments were biting, especially in the newspapers, where Irish players past and present questioned whether Australia had any interest in defeating them. The Wallaby forwards were described as pussycats. The usual respect was gone. Greg Growden, The Sydney Morning Herald.
But Ireland’s field position was always superior to that of Australia and Australia spent a huge amount of their time just clearing their line and starting again. That is not what their artistes were here to. Neil Francis, The Sunday Tribune.
All 19 players in green contributed with a work ethic of which to be proud. Professionalism for sure, but when underpinned with substantial pride it makes for a pretty potent mix. Tony Ward, The Irish Independent.
For at the end of a unique day in world rugby, when all the three southern hemisphere giants were felled in the space of eight hours, this victory over the world champions was more significant than those in London or Marseille. Ian Malin, The Guardian.
But this wasn’t just boot, bite and bravery. Ireland still mixed up their game more, evidence being the prelude to the second penalty when a remarkably quick spread of the ball by Stringer and O’Gara off a lineout launched O’Driscoll wide out. Gerry Thornley, The Irish Times.
True, the world champions made more basic errors in 80-odd minutes than they would normally make in an entire season. Yet much of this had to do with the phenomenal defensive performance by Ireland – courageous, spirited and yet also utterly methodical. You can remember the missed tackles but only because they were so few and far between. Peter O’Reilly, The Sunday Tribune.
In the great scheme of things perhaps Ireland’s win over Australia, does not mean a great deal, but let’s not spoil the party. After 25 successive defeats against southern hemisphere opposition, spanning 23 years, victory was sweet, thoroughly deserved and rapturously received. Brendan Gallagher, The Daily Telegraph.
If this was a warm-up for the World Cup clash next year, it proved one thing – Ireland, knocking on the door and biting at the heels of the southern hemisphere giants for the last 24 months, have finally secured a bit of status. Barry Coughlan, The Irish Examiner.
That they won was special but doing what they did – controlling an attritional game – without their captain, their lifeblood, Keith Wood, made it all the more remarkable. Tom English, The Sunday Times.
On this sort of day anything was likely to happen and it did. There was only one game plan to be effected – get the territory and swarm all over the opposition. Ireland did it with huge resolve and they got their rewards. Brendan Fanning, The Sunday Independent.
And what a way to do it. If it was 15-man running rugby you were after, Lansdowne Road was not the place to be. But Ireland’s will to win was enough to warm the cockles of the crowd. Ciaran Cronin, The Daily Star.
Whereas Australia floundered, Ireland reveled in producing a sleeves-rolled-up performance that was never found wanting. Their line-out was reliable, their front-row was steady and crucially, they were patient when they needed to be. Liam Heagney, Ireland on Sunday.