Ireland 3 (0)
Wallabies 23 (6)
The rain was teeming down at Lansdowne Road as the Irish President,
looking more like a rugby groupie than a President, shook hands with the
players. A minute's silence for the rail disaster victims, then the
anthems and this important Pool E clash was ready to get under way.
Shaky start by the Wallabies but Matt Burke slotted a penalty after five
minutes to put Oz on the scoreboard after Ireland had conceded an
offside penalty under pressure.
Predictably there was quite a bit of kicking for the corners,
interspersed with highball as well as some big hits as early nerves were
tested. Matt Burke missed a couple of long-range shots but the phony war
of the first quarter came to an end with no real shots fired in anger.
A kick-ahead by Wood ignited a Wallaby counter, with Tune shredding the
Irish defence before unloading to Kefu, who made good ground before
linking with his support to take play into the Irish 22, where the
attack fizzled out.
The Wallabies were not really taking advantage of the breeze at their
backs, as Ireland defended grimly and threw in the odd counter. Eales
took over the place-kicking from Burke and slotted a second penalty but
that was the sum total of the scoring in the first half, despite the
Wallabies dominating the ruck and maul count by a wide margin; a
disappointing display by both teams and a dull first half.
Matt Burke succeeded with his second penalty soon after the start of the
second half but Wood came away on the counter and David Humphreys
slotted a three-pointer of his own, to open Ireland's account.
It was Ben Tune who sparked the first Aussie try with a short dart. His
quick layback was snapped up by Toutai Kefu, who burst away making good
ground up the centre before handing on to Richard Harry. Harry took on
the Irish defence in no uncertain terms, before going to ground where
Gregan got quick ball away to Timmy Horan for a great try under the
Ten more minutes of nondescript play before good phase ball came back to
Gregan, who ran wide to open the hole, before delivering a perfect
backflip to Roff who made ground before handing on to Horan and and from
there to Ben Tune, who thundered over in the corner. Burke converted
and Oz led 23 - 3.
And that was about the ballgame. The Wallabies were never going to lose
this encounter and Ireland were never going to concede it without a
fight. Two great tries from Oz, otherwise an encounter that did not
really live up to it's high expectations.