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
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty vs Northland19:35
Friday , September 26
Taranaki vs Auckland19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39