Planet Rugby

Ireland shock lifeless Wallabies

17th September 2011 08:53

Share:

Brian O Driscoll thumping Quade Cooper in Ireland versus Australia at World Cup

Second best: Australia

Ireland scored the first major upset of RWC 2011 after stunning Australia 15-6 at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.

There is no hiding the fact that a poor Wallabies side came off second best to the Irish as their key players were superbly contained by a side who in Brian O'Driscoll's words 'dug deep into the well'.

Ireland love silencing the critics - as they have done so many times in the past in such one-off games - and they did just that in a team effort that was spearheaded by loosehead prop Cian Healy.

Healy was the heartbeat of an Irish scrum that helped the underdogs claim the majority of their points, while Sean O'Brien, Stephen Ferris and Paul O'Connell chipped in with strong showings.

But for Australia there are some harsh lessons to learn from this shock defeat, not least why their playmaking duo of Will Genia and Quade Cooper were seemingly absent for most of the game.

Cooper looked disinterested in Auckland while his centre combination of Pat McCabe and Anthony Faingaa struggled to make any impact outside him. Kurtley Beale was the only shining light for the Wallabies, who now look like joining New Zealand and South Africa in the tougher side of the knockout draw. England and France must be licking their lips.

The day started badly and ultimately got worse for the Wallabies when vital openside flanker David Pocock and hooker Stephen Moore both pulled out of the game injured before kick-off.

It would only have been human of Irish fans to sense an opening for a shock result and their team duly delivered, despite going 0-3 down on 12 minutes to a James O'Connor penalty.

Jonathan Sexton, who had another hot-and-cold night with the boot, sent over a levelling penalty four minutes later and then knocked Ireland ahead with a drop to cap a good spell.

O'Connor was also struggling to find his range though before a moment that summed up Australia's troubles occurred. Genia was under pressure at the base of a scrum and upon picking up the ball he was met and driven back ten metres by Ulster back-row Ferris.

The neutral promptly knew that the game could go either way as the confidence in the Irish camp continued to grow, despite O'Connor levelling matters on 24 minutes. That was how things stayed until the break when there were no doubt choice words from Robbie Deans.

It was to no avail as Ireland continued to win the tight exchanges and mini-battles in the engine room and midfield, with James Horwill becoming increasingly frustrated as he gave away another three at a ruck on 50 minutes. Ireland were in front again and looking calm.

Then came a moment that many thought would make or break this game as Gordon D'Arcy hobbled off and was replaced by Ronan O'Gara. Sexton subsequently shifted out to inside centre and it worked superbly for Declan Kidney's side, with the duo pinning back the Wallabies and O'Gara ultimately adding six more points for a memorable 15-6 victory.

Man of the match: Little doubt about this one as Cian Healy was at the heart of this victory. He made Ben Alexander's life miserable at Eden Park and kicked on from Tom Court's scrum performance last week. Mentions too for Sean O'Brien and Paul O'Connell.

Moment of the match: Ireland fans must have been licking their lips when news broke that Stephen Moore and David Pocock had withdrawn from the game injured. Would they have made a difference? Pocock definitely as Ben McCalman struggled to have any impact.

Villain of the match: Nothing to report.

The scorers:

For Australia:
Pen: O'Connor 2

For Ireland:
Pen: Sexton 2, O'Gara 2
Drop: Sexton

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Anthony Fainga'a, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Ben McCalman, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Dan Vickerman, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Drew Mitchell.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (c), 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Paul O'Connell, 5 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Tom Court, 18 Donnacha Ryan, 19 Denis Leamy, 20 Conor Murray, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Andrew Trimble.

Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Dave Pearson (England), Stuart Terheege (England)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)

By Adam Kyriacou

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs AustraliaBarbarians vs Australia Preview
USA vs New ZealandUSA vs New Zealand Preview
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Preview
Glasgow vs Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Ospreys vs ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Preview
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs MunsterCardiff Blues vs Munster Preview
Scarlets vs ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Preview
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gonsUlster vs Newport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615