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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 22 August, 2017
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Good evening and welcome to The42′s live coverage of Ireland’s opening 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup fixture, which sees them face Australia in Pool C.

We’re live from the UCD Bowl, and will be keeping you up to date with tonight’s action. Kick-off is at 7pm.

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The excitement and anticipation has been building all the day but the time has finally come for Ireland to launch their 2017 World Cup campaign, as they face Australia at the Belfield Bowl. A sell-out home crowd of 3,500 have been filtering since early lunchtime and the atmosphere around campus is absolutely electric on a beautiful Wednesday evening. There are no late changes to the XV named by Tom Tierney yesterday and now all the talking is very nearly over as kick-off fast approaches at 7pm.

Tonight’s referee is Tim Baker of the Hong Kong Rugby Union. With a blast of his whistle, Nora Stapleton gets us underway. Here we go!

1 min – Ireland 0-0: A monster tackle from Jenny Murphy produces an Aussie knock-on. Ireland put into the scrum six yards shy of halfway.

4 mins – Ireland 0-0 Australia: Alison Miller – the Portlaoise Express – crashes it up the middle. Nora Stapleton and Hannah Tyrell go wide but the ball is knocked on by Eimear Considine. Pass was slightly behind the UL Bohs winger.

Australia win a penalty from the resulting scrum. Lineout Australia on Ireland’s 10m line after the kick to touch.

7 mins – Ireland 0-0 Australia:Prolonged spell of pressure from the Aussies with some strong running up the middle. Hannah Tyrrell clears to Ireland’s 22. From resulting lineout, accidental offside by Australia. Ireland scrum on their own 22.

8 mins – Ireland 0-0 Australia: Poor clearance from Irish scrum-half Larissa Muldoon goes out on the full, but Ireland steal the resulting lineout in their own 22. However, Australia immediately rip it back, forcing a scrum to which they have the put-in.

10 mins – Ireland 0-0 Australia: HUGE scrum by Ireland, as the front row demolishes their counterparts from Down Under. Penalty Ireland, but Nora Stapleton misses touch!

11 mins – Ireland 0-0 Australia: Ireland, with a penalty advantage, go wide and skipper Claire Molloy is halted in her tracks just outside her own 22. Referee brings it back for a penalty, and this time, Stapleton finds her touch.

13 mins – Ireland 0-0 Australia: Moloney finds Reilly from the lineout and Ireland maul forward five or six yards. Ireland go wide before the ball comes back inside to Lindsay Peat, who straightens the line. Australia off their feet, and concede the penalty, which Stapleton prods into touch on the Aussie 22.

14 mins – Ireland 0-0 Australia: Huge work from Claire Molloy with two carries inside the Aussie 22. Ireland go wide about five shy of the try line, but Stapleton’s pass for Miller is poor. The winger attempts to volley it into play, but it skims off her boot into touch. Australia lineout on their own five.

15 mins – Ireland 0-0 Australia: GREAT lineout steal by Ireland, but Paula Fitzpatrick spills it forward after a couple of assaults deep into Aussie territory.

16 mins – Ireland 0-0 Australia: Referee checks for foul play in the lineout that Ireland stole. Goes to TMO, but sticks with his original decision to play on. Australia’s scrum.

17 mins – Ireland 0-0 Australia: Paula Fitzpatrick closes down Australia clearance and Ireland throw into the lineout just 10 yards shy of the line. AND THEY’RE ROLLING! Advantage Ireland as the maul collapses. Three yards short after a carry from Moloney. Ireland BATTERING at the line!

19 mins – TRYYYYYYYYYY!!! Ireland 7-0 Australia: LARISSA MULDOON SNIPES OVER FROM CLOSE RANGE! Ireland on the board! Conversion from Stapleton is good!

24 mins – Ireland 7-0 Australia: Australia win a penalty as Reilly fails to roll away at the breakdown. Lineout on Ireland’s 22 results in Irish possession. After a lineout of their own following a tackle on Molloy which knocked the ball into touch off an Aussie hand, Ali Miller brings Ireland out of the 22.

25 mins – Ireland 7-0 Australia: A second high tackle from Australia earns a warning for captain and Sevens star Shannon Parry. Stapleton puts the resulting penalty into touch, but Ireland knock on as they approach the Australian 22.

28 mins – TRY AUSTRALIA! Ireland 7-5 Australia: Shannon Parry goes wide from a quick lineout and Mahalia Murphy scythes through the Irish defence on her Women’s Rugby World Cup debut, which is also her XVs debut! Beautiful score. Conversion is a horror-show.

Mahalia Murphy celebrates scoring their first try Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

30 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: Australia knock-on from the restart and Ireland will have a put-in just outside their opponents’ 22.

31 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: Irish scrum gets annihilated and Australia gather possession from the resulting breakdown.

33 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: Penalty Australia on Ireland’s 10m line. Hands in the ruck. Frustrating stuff since the opening score from Ireland as Australia grow into the game. Trilleen Pomare finds touch, but not much distance on the kick.

34 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: Maz Reilly and friends doing untold to the Aussie lineout. Reilly steals another!

35 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: First chant of ‘IRELAND IRELAND’ from the fans as the players catch their breath. It’s bloody loud in the Bowl.

36 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: Australia put sustained pressure on Irish defence with some huge carries from their forwards, but Ireland win a scrum with…a choke tackle! You might recall that particular dark art rose to prominence during a Rugby World Cup fixture versus the Wallabies in 2011… We’re at it again. Heh heh heh.

39 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: Ireland go to the maul from a lineout on their own 22, and they roll it up about 10 yards. It gets dragged down but Ireland win a penalty. Claire Molloy in the referee’s ear, now, and rightly so.

HALF TIME – Ireland 7-5 Australia

46 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: All Australia to start the second half, bullying Ireland at the breakdown and building phases. Ireland finally force a knock-on just outside their own 22. Ireland have missed 16 tackles to Australia’s two.

48 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: Australia lineout in Irish territory and MAZ REILLY STEALS ANOTHER ONE!

50 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: Ali Miller has had a strong start to the half after haring down a kick after the restart. she drives Ireland up toward their own 10m line but when the ball comes back infield, it’s Australia’s turn to force a knock-on – Ireland’s umpteenth, at this stage. Miller up after treatment.

52 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: Egan and Fitzpatrick off for Ciara O’Connor and Sophie Spence, and immediately the Irish scrum looks a lot more solid. They turn the screw on the Aussies and force a knock-on at the base. From the Irish put-in, Ireland go wide and Spence cuts back inside with a barreling carry. Ireland working around their own 10m line, retaining possession.

55 mins – Ireland 7-5 Australia: Another huge carry from Spence but Ireland concede another penalty at the breakdown, with Ciara O’Connor failing to release the ball under pressure. Lineout OZ, six metres out from the Irish 22. They go to the maul and rumble inside the 22. Goes to ground but ball available. On come Australia again! They’re five short. Three short. Two short. Advantage Australia. One short.

55 mins – TRY AUSTRALIA! Ireland 7-10 Australia: Shannon Parry goes over from a yard out, and Australia lead!

56 mins – Ireland 7-10 Australia: Conversion appalling, skewed right from all of 13 yards. Let-off for Ireland, who need to get their act together here.

59 mins – Ireland 7-10 Australia: Strong carries on either wing from Miller and Consadine, and Ireland are inside the Aussie 22. Moloney takes it up to 10 yards out, O’Connor takes it three further. And Ireland will have a scrum seven short of the Australian line. Huge improvement in terms of building phases, there, from Ireland.

A view of the game Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

60 mins – Ireland 7-10 Australia: Ireland’s scrum now a different beast. Miller tries to blow a hole through Aussie rearguard. IRELAND A YARD SHY.

61 mins – TRRRRYYYYYYYY IRELAND! Ireland 14-10 Australia: CIARA GRIFFIN TOUCHES DOWN AT THE BASE OF THE POST! WHAT A RESPONSE FROM IRELAND! Conversion is…GOOD!

Ciara Griffin scores their second try of the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

62 mins – Ireland 14-10 Australia: Claire Molloy has been quiet at the breakdown but her carries have been mammoth. She takes two more possessions as Ireland move toward halfway from the restart. Another strong carry from Alison Miller, too. Ireland up to the 10m line and win a penalty!

65 mins – Ireland 14-10 Australia: Nora Stapleton puts Ireland just outside the Aussie 22. Molloy takes the lineout and Ireland move forward. Sophie Spence eventually driven into touch well inside the 22. AUSTRALIA MAKE A HAMES OF IT! But Ireland knock-on after the turnover. Scrum Ireland, though, on account of original knock-on in the lineout from OZ.

66 mins – Ireland 14-10 Australia: Irish scrum 12 yards out. Muldoon feeds and gets it back, gives it to Sene Naoupu who’s stopped seven meters short. Australia get it back and clear it, but fail to find touch, and on come Ireland again!

68 mins – Ireland 14-10 Australia: Monster tackle on Ali Miller after a strong carry down the left wing. Ireland back inside the Australian 22, approaching the five.

69 mins – Ireland 14-10 Australia: Ciara Griffin monstrous since her introduction, and Ireland are inside the Aussie five. Peat and Spence combine and drive up another three or so meters. KNOCKING ON THE DOOR!

69 mins – TRRRYYYYYYYYYYY IRELA— Hang on, the ref seemed to award the try, but is now going to the TMO?!?

69 mins – TRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYY IRELAND! Ireland 19-10 Australia: The TMO does the honours after Sophie Spence crashes over in the corner! GET IN!!! Conversion doesn’t find its way home, but Ireland in control.

Sophie Spence scores their third try Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

71 mins – Ireland 19-10 Australia: From the restart Ireland go wide. Beautiful pirouette from Naoupu but Australia somehow come away with the ball in Ireland’s 22!

72 mins – TRY AUSTRALIA!!! Ireland 19-17 Australia: Really poor from Ireland after gathering the restart, and Australia power over after regaining possession on the Irish 22. Conversion good.

75 mins – Ireland 19-17 Australia: HUGE charge-down of a box kick from Naopu, and Ireland turn the ball over but go wide and concede a penalty on the ground. It’s breathless stuff. Strap in, folks.

77 mins – Ireland 19-17 Australia: IRELAND WIN THE LINEOUT! And Stapleton gives it welly! Back march Australia, just outside their 22. Three minutes to go.

78 mins – Ireland 19-17 Australia: Australia’s Sharni Williams knocks the ball on into touch as Maz Reilly is announced as Player of the Match. Irish ball in the lineout with just over two minutes remaining.

78 mins – Ireland 19-17 Australia: Claire Molloy takes possession at the front of the lineout. Stapleton and Naopu crash into each other in midfield but no accidental offside. On come Ireland, on comes Spence! Into the Australian half, inside the final minute!

79 mins – Ireland 19-17 Australia: Ireland keep ball. O’Connor picks and goes. 10 seconds.

80 mins - YESSSS!!!!

FULL TIME: IRELAND 19-17 Australia

Phew. Job done. Bring it, Japan.

That’s it from us here in the liveblog, but there’ll be plenty more reaction to Ireland’s opening victory – and how difficult they made it – on The42 throughout the evening and the rest of the week. Cheers for staying with us.

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