Ireland upset Wallabies in thriller game

Ireland produced the first major upset of the World Cup with a 15-6 victory in a heavyweight thriller of a match played in a febrile atmosphere at Eden Park on Saturday.

Coming into the match on the back of four warm-up defeats and a shaky opening victory against the US, the Irish tackled and harried and hustled their way to a first victory over Australia in five attempts at World Cups.

Two penalties and a drop goal from Jonathan Sexton and another two penalties from Ronan O’Gara won the match but it was the sweat of the Irish pack which earned the plaudits that were showered down on the players from the green-clad majority in the 58 000 crowd.

“It was the performance we knew we had in us,” Irish skipper Brian O’Driscoll said in a post-match interview.

“We swear we were in Dublin with that crowd. Absolutely incredible support and it was our job to give them something to shout about and thankfully we did.

“It’s just half the job done. We have two wins and two more to get so, as much as we’ll enjoy this, let’s not lose sight, there are two more games.”

Tri-Nations champions Australia were robbed of injured flanker David Pocock and sick hooker Stephen Moore earlier on Saturday but their much-vaunted backline never really got going on a wet pitch, which also more resembled Dublin than Sydney.

Barring a huge upset in their remaining games, Ireland will now top Pool C and go through to a quarter-final against the second-placed team from Pool D, which is likely to be Wales, Fiji or Samoa.

Australia must now be resigned to finishing second and a likely last eight match-up with defending champions South Africa with, if they get through that, the All Blacks prospectively waiting in the semi-finals.

Not enough momentum
“The Irish did well to spoil our ball, we couldn’t get any momentum and we played some dumb footy,” Wallabies skipper James Horwill said.

“We weren’t good enough. We didn’t given enough clean platform for our backs and they did well to spoil us and they played well and they deserved their win.”

In a tightly-contested and often abrasive first half, Australia looked the brighter in attack with full back Kurtley Beale particularly incisive but the Irish had success in holding up the Irish runners and winning put-ins to the scrum.

Two penalties from James O’Connor and a penalty and drop goal from Jonathan Sexton left the sides deadlocked at 6-6 going into halftime, the same score as Australia had shared with Italy halfway through their opening match.

But while the Wallabies ran in four quick tries after the break on their way to a 32-6 win against the Italians, the Irish proved to be made of sterner stuff.

While their pack started to ratchet up their dominance of the scrum, Sexton added a second penalty to put Ireland 9-6 ahead after 50 minutes and saw another ping off the post two minutes later.

Quade Cooper and Beale kept trying to kickstart their usually potent offence, but the green defence would bend a little before swallowing the Wallabies backs up and winning more scrum put-ins with their swarming aggression at the breakdown.

When Ronan O’Gara, on for centre Gordon D’Arcy, put the Irish a further three points ahead after a fourth penalty was awarded against the Australians for infringements at the set scrum after 61 minutes, things looked bleak for the Wallabies.

A Will Genia charge towards the Irish line was then brought back for crossing before a huge Sexton up-and-under led to another scrum under the Australian posts and another penalty against the Wallabies front row.

As the rain started to fall again, O’Gara slotted the three points to stretch the lead to nine and the crowd settled in for a dramatic last nine minutes.

The Australians camped on the Irish line but neither forward nor back could break through the green wall and Irish winger Tommy Bowe broke the siege with an interception off a Cooper offload.

His charge the length of the pitch was ended short of the line by an O’Connor tackle but Australian hopes of a comeback to match that the 1991 Wallabies famously achieved in Dublin had now all but gone. — Reuters

View our Rugby World Cup special report for the latest news, features, match reports and multimedia here.

Advertisting

Sandf colonel accused of swindling colleagues in UN business scam

A senior soldier who is part of South Africa’s peacekeeping missions is accused by her colleagues of swindling them out of of hundreds of thousands of rands in a nonexistent business deal

AU pushes the frontiers of transitional justice

Now these important policy developments must be implemented

Mass store and job cuts at Massmart

Changed market conditions and an appalling economy has hit low end cash-and-carry outlets

Courts to guide land expropriation

Two bits of law need to be approved before a court can decide if land owners will be compensated
Advertising

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.