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Dublin: 8 °C Sunday 18 November, 2018


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Good morning and welcome into a brief World Cup-free zone to give you a bit of a change of pace from events in Russia.

Ireland are in Sydney, bidding to cap their terrific Grand Slam season with a series win over the Wallabies.

The news breaking overnight is that Ireland’s chances have been hit with an injury for Sean Cronin, so the powerful Leinster man drops out of the 23 for this one.

Kick-off is not until 11am, so get some breakfast into you and get settled for what is sure to be another fierce contest between Michael Cheika and Joe Schmidt’s charges.

So here’s how Ireland will shape up for Test 3.

15. Rob Kearney
14. Keith Earls
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Bundee Aki
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Jack McGrath
2. Niall Scannell
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. James Ryan
6. CJ Stander
7. Peter O’Mahony (captain)
8. Jack Conan


16. Rob Herring
17. Cian Healy
18. John Ryan
19. Tadhg Beirne
20. Jordi Murphy
21. Kieran Marmion
22. Ross Byrne
23. Jordan Larmour

Another blow to Ireland’s preparations: The bloody bus again.

“We’ve had the bus late drama again… it’s kind of put guys out of kilter,” Joe Schmidt confirmed on Sky after reports the squad arrived to the ground 30 minutes late.

Remember Murrayfield 2017, don’t underestimate the significance of a slight delay in a meticulous Joe Schmidt plan.

There’s Sean Cronin with his fellow injured troops. Garry Ringrose sporting a moon boot these past few days.

Sean Cronin, Garry Ringrose and Andrew Conway arrive Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

As the anthems strike up and Peter McKenzie departs after delivering his Welcome to Country, here’s the Wallaby line-up.

15. Israel Folau
14. Dane Haylett-Petty
13. Samu Kerevi
12. Kurtley Beale
11. Marika Koroibete
10. Bernard Foley
9. Nick Phipps

1. Scott Sio
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Izack Rodda
5. Adam Coleman
6. Lukhan Tui
7. Michael Hooper (captain)
8. David Pocock


16. Tolu Latu
17. Allan Alaalatoa
18. Taniela Tupou
19. Rob Simmons
20. Ned Hanigan
21. Pete Samu
22. Joe Powell
23. Reece Hodge

Here we go Pascal Gauzere, gets the third Test off and running. Foley kicks off and that man Folau with a huge statement of intent as he wins the starting kick. Wallabies  attack towards the right flank, but the man… THE man, Peter O’Mahony comes up with a turnover penalty inside the first minute.

Back come the Wallabies on attack, but Ireland’s defence looks in good shape.

On attack, Stockdale threatens on the left and Sexton is being treated after a late hit from Kepu.

Penalty comes from that for Ireland and Sexton is up to boot Ireland into the attacking third.

PENALTY! Australia 0 Ireland 3 (Sexton ’8)

Peter O’Mahony is taking some punishment in the air today. Suffered a scary landing after Folau’s early take and he’s bumped in flight again on the latest restart.

Wallabies set up their attack from a scrum V after Kearney is turned and they get the equalising penalty as Ireland run offside.

PENALTY! Australia 3 Ireland 3 (Foley ’13)

Ireland threaten on attack despite a disrupted line-out with Bundee AKi making a break in the centre of the 22. The momentum is halted brilliantly by Pocock though, who comes away with a clean steal.

Pocock’s form is a plus, but there’s nothing but negative for the hosts as captain Michael Hooper hobbles off the field. Looked like he might have hyper-extended his knee while jackaling at his last ruck.

Pocock again, this time forcing a penalty after CJ Stander carried his way.

Looks a little harsh on Ireland’s cleaners as Pocock was likely on his knees.

Lovely attack ignited by Sexton’s cross-field kick to Earls.

But Jacob Stockdale gets in trouble as he leads with his elbow on the fend.

YELLOW CARD for the prolific Ulsterman and Rob Kearney appeared to injury his shoulder as he was hit by a thunderous tackle while passing to Stockdale

PENALTY! Australia 6 Ireland 3 (Foley ’21)

Kearney stands Larmour down as the eager 21-year-old sensed an early entry to the game. The veteran plays on and carries intentfully for Ireland before Kepu is penalised for holding on James Ryan.

A long-range penalty, so Conor Murray steps up to take it. He pulls it wide.

Ireland take the ball in Walabies territory and probe right. So far, it’s been a solid penalty-killing set of phases.

The 14 men rumble on, keeping it tight to carry hard into contact. Australia turn  over in their right corner, but a loose Phipps pass almost lets Ireland in yet gold survive the 14-man onslaught.

PENALTY! Australia 6 Ireland 6 (Sexton ’29)

Wallabies impinge at the ruck again and Sexton levels us up.

Peter O’Mahony is lifted and hit in the air a third time. The second time Folau has caused a dangerous fall for the Ireland skipper.

The TMO calls for a check-check and the result send back to Gauzere is a yellow card.

O’Mahony has gone off after that fall, replaced by Jordi Murphy, leading to his hilarious exchange as Sexton takes on the captaincy.

Ireland rumble to the line, but the TMO says no to a try. We go back for a penalty and Sexton nudges the tourists into the lead.

PENALTY! Australia 6 Ireland 9 (Sexton ’34)

PENALTY! Australia 9 Ireland 9 (Foley ’40)

Conor Murray was the man pinged for offside there after a strong gold maul had Ireland under pressure.


Australia with a coach-killing penalty on the restart, offside from a knock-on. The replay shows Cheika stand up and turn his back in disgust and Sexton kicks Ireland into a half-time lead.

PENALTY! Australia 9 Ireland 12 (Sexton ’40)

HALF-TIME: Australia 9 Ireland 12

More controversy than intensity about that first 40 then, with penalty tries and yellow card calls to be debated, but we’re off and running in the second half.

Superb chase from Bundee Aki chasing a kick to the corner and digging out a penalty.

Sexton is shaping to kick for the corner, but before that have a TMO check on lock Adam Coleman who looked very loose charging into the ruck.

Not many angles to scrutinise and it’s just a penalty against the lock.

Superb powerful maul from Ireland pinning Australia on their line. The penalty comes for collapsing, but Gauzere only awards the penalty and a warning rather than going further and issuing a yellow or the full seven-pointer.

No stopping that one, Scannell hits the tail of the line-out and the maul is slick with Toner and Murphy powering forward to allow CJ plant the ball beyond the whitewash.

Sexton unfortunately misses the chance to open up a full 10-point lead though. Will the eight-point cushion be enough for Ireland to take the series?

Oof. A big Australian scrum sees Ireland’s pack backpedal. They kick for the corner to set up base camp 10 metres out.

The Wallabies do that delicious change of direction they love and look like they have the overlap, but Foley’s instant flip pass goes too high and it goes over the head of Folau.

We come back for an offside penalty and the Wallabies are still chasing tries.

Foley makes the most of Aussie pressure by delivering a brilliant little angled grubber towards the right hand corner. It sits up perfectly for the big wing Koroibete to power onto it and through Rob Kearney’s attempted tackle.

Australia have sent on the Irish qualified Joe Powell just in time for another big scrum win.

Rob Kearney is gone for the day as with Jordan Larmour in at fullback. The momentum is with the hosts.

Ooof. Let-off for Ireland as Henshaw is penalised for a high tackle. The out-half pulls his kick from right to left and beyond the posts.

Tadhg Furlong heads for the bench. We’ll have to see this one out without the Wexford Wonder.

Big break from Karevi busts Ireland open, but Australia let their guest off the hook again with a poor pass as they go left. The ball is too low and spilled forward.

10 minutes to go in Sydney.

Sexton pops up a too-loose pass and Beale is on it like a shot. There’s heavy traffic though, so he’s quickly wrapped up. When they go wide they meet a brilliant Irish defensive effort and Bundee Aki and James Ryan combined to force a terrific turnover.

A one-point ball game and all to play for, the intensity has noticably been ratcheted up in this one for the last quarter. Some tremendous collisions out there.

Sexton is put in a blender as he flings a pass out to Stockdale. Outstanding hit to the chest from Kerevi.

The drama! The ball is like soap out there as players frantically chase a spill and send it spinning back towards the Wallaby try-line.

Australia kick high and LARMOUR comes up with the good, beating Folau to the Garryowen!

Breakdown penalty comes after that and Sexton kicks up the line. Ireland playing in the right zone of the field now.


Latu penalised and Sexton has the chance to put Ireland four clear…


PENALTY! Australia 16 Ireland 20 (Sexton ’78)

Izzy Folau making huge yards in contact. Australia go wide and Beale flings a pass.

IT BOUNCES OUT… but wait, we’re back with the TMO looking at a potential deliberate knock-on.

Ireland win the three Test series against Australia with a dramatic finish in Sydney.

The TMO and Pascal Gauzere took an unbearably long time to make the final call, but it’s in the books.

An incredible achievement on top of an exceptional season for this Irish team.

About the author:

Sean Farrell


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