Wallabies 46 (13)
Ireland 10 (3)
Perfect Brisbane weather, an Irish pub in a marquee tent, spluttering
firecrackers and an e***d crowd at a packed Ballymore, as the teams
lined up for the anthems.
Humphreys kicked off for Ireland and the opening minutes were all Oz as
they camped on the Irish line. Spooner goaled an early penalty and play
spluttered a little as both teams tried to get the feel of the ball and
The first try came as a surprise. Gregan picked up a rolling ball under
pressure but suddenly spurted through a gap to put Ben Tune away on a
long run and a touchdown at the cornerflag which Spooner did well to
Humphreys replied a minute later with a three-pointer for Ireland.
The second quarter saw Ireland come back strongly into the game with
good driving play by Costello and O'Cuinnagain in particular. But there
were some ghastly handling errors by the Irish backs who were struggling
to come to terms with the dew-wet ball.
The Wallabies were enjoying a surfeit of possession but a determined
Irish defence kept them out. Wilson actually got across the Irish line
only to be penalised for a double movement. Clever Irish spoiling
tactics in the rucks continued to frustrate the Oz pack.
With only minutes to half-time Mostyn broke clear and ran powerfully
down the left flank to be held up inches short of the Wallaby line. On
the stroke of half-time, Spooner slotted a second penalty from close to
Ireland attacked powerfully from the kick-off and were unlucky not to
score when Wood broke free and floated a beautiful pass over to O'Shea
who was solidly tackled by Tune.
Minutes later Daniel Herbert burst powerfully through the centre and
handed on to Wilson who slid over under the sticks with a trio of
Irishmen clinging tenaciously to every appendage. Spooner converted to
put the Wallabies into a 20 - 3 lead.
A clever kick into space by Gregan found no fullback in position and
Gregan fielded the kick himself to fling the ball infield over his head
where Oz won quick ball for Herbert to cruise in for an easy try.
Back came Ireland to win an attacking scrum only ten metres out but yet
another handling error ruined what looked like a certain try. Then it
was the turn of the Wallaby forwards to dazzle win a driving rush with
Blades and Paul prominent for Strauss to finish. Spooner converted.
The Irish swarmed onto the attack from the kickoff to take play deep
into Irish territory where a determined dart in a low body position by
Maggs put him over for Ireland's first try. Humphreys converted.
The crowd barely had time to settle down when Strauss went over for his
second after an inside pass by Horan, put Latham into the gap. Then in
the dying seconds of the game the Wallaby forwards moved the ball down
the right flank for Strauss to get his third in an excellent team effort
by the Australians.
A well-deserved win for the Wallabies with a superb second half display
but it could have been very different for Ireland if they had been able
to eliminate unforced handling errors, which badly disrupted their
They played very well in patches and at one point, threatened to take
control of the exchanges up front but the Wallaby backs definitely had
the edge on their opponents. As test matches go, it was a nice game.