Australia beat Ireland 18-12 to give their new coach Robbie Deans a winning start in an entertaining Test match on Saturday.
Tries by centre Berrick Barnes and lock James Horwill carried the Wallabies to a 15-7 lead at halftime and flyhalf Matt Giteau extended the advantage with a penalty.
Ireland refused to lie down, however, and a fine try by their captain Brian O’Driscoll gave Australia a few anxious moments before they sealed victory.
Australia scored with their first attack, winger Lote Tuqiri breaking clear down the left and setting up Barnes for the opening try after six minutes.
Ireland responded with a surge down the right and following a lineout their forwards drove flanker Denis Leamy over the line for a try which was converted by flyhalf Ronan O’Gara.
Australia winger Peter Hynes broke clear of the defence and Giteau danced through the remaining Irish defence before cleverly offloading for Horwill to crash over the line.
Giteau converted and added a penalty to give the home side a healthy lead at the interval.
Another Giteau penalty took Australia further ahead but Ireland continued to cause problems, a jinking run by man-of-the-match fullback Robert Kearney splitting the hosts’ defence wide open.
O’Driscoll intercepted a crossfield kick and sprinted down the line, with only a desperate cover tackle from Australia fullback Cameron Shepherd preventing a try.
O’Driscoll finally got his reward when a fluent Ireland passing movement released winger Tommy Bowe down the left and the skipper was on hand to take his inside pass and touch down.
Ireland dominated the closing stages but Australia held firm to record a victory in their first match since last year’s World Cup quarterfinal defeat by England. – Reuters