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'Sexton schooled the Wallaby playmakers' - Aussie media reaction to Irish win

Several Australian journalists pointed to the kicking from Joe Schmidt’s side as a key factor in the outcome.

Sexton's kicking came in for praise from some Australian journalists.
Sexton's kicking came in for praise from some Australian journalists.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

FOLLOWING IRELAND’S 26-23 win over the Wallabies on Saturday in Dublin, here’s how some of the Australian rugby media have reacted.

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Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, Chris Dutton underlines that the Wallabies are heading towards their worst November tour in almost a decade, with a clash against England to come next weekend.

“[T]he team needs to start adjusting to the new game plan and a win against England would be a massive confidence booster less than a year before the World Cup showdown between the teams,” claims Dutton, before mentioning Ireland’s head coach.

“Ireland’s triumph was made even more impressive with news that coach Joe Schmidt was taken to hospital with suspected appendicitis.

Schmidt watched in agony as Ireland held on for their first win against Australia at home since 2006 and his side has now won seven Tests in a row.”

Dutton’s colleague, Stephen Samuelson reflected on the Wallabies’ loss under the title ‘Talent not the problem for Wallabies, it’s inexperience’. He was taken with the performance of Ireland’s out-half, particularly in comparison with the Wallaby halfbacks.

“Jonathan Sexton schooled Bernard Foley and Toomua in the kicking department and proved the difference between the two teams,” writes Samuleson. “The Wallaby playmakers rarely, if ever, create pressure with their kicks. It’s a flaw in their games.”

Michael Cheika Cheika's side have improved, according to some reports. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Indeed, Samuelson belives that Ireland’s kicking ability was the main difference between the sides:

“The Wallabies were competitive against the Six Nations champions in every facet, except general play kicking. The relief Ireland showed at fulltime showed the level of physical commitment required to hold out the tourists. Increased physicality is the granite of Cheika’s game plan.”

On the pages of Green and Gold Rugby, Mike Penistone shares his view that Australia’s display showed that Michael Cheika’s men are somewhat more advanced than Joe Schmidt’s.

There is a similarity between the coaches, but the Wallabies team performance and playing tempo is ahead of Ireland’s in both attack and defensive organisation,” says Penistone.

“Ireland offered little in constructive back play after half time. D’Arcy may soon follow O’Driscoll, and Sexton needs a centre who can run ahead of him before he makes his trade mark looping run. You can’t run an effective loop running back towards the ball carrier, he has to get in front of you.”

GAGR’s player rankings, which are voted for by its readers have number eight Ben McCalman as the best-performing Wallaby against Ireland at present, with Tevita Kuridrani and Henry Speight making up the top three.

Bottom of the pile is Adam Ashley-Cooper, with Bernard Foley one place ahead of the wing.

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Tommy Bowe pressures Israel Folau Tommy Bowe wraps up Israel Folau at the Aviva Stadium. Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

Mike Colman’s report from Dublin for the Herald Sun focuses almost entirely on the Wallabies’ performance, one which he was encouraged by:

“Overall the game was a huge improvement on the last two Tests against Wales and France, and offers hope for the future.

“For the three weeks that Cheika has been in charge of the national side, he has preached a new approach: a game that would combine physicality with enterprise; confidence with anger.

At times in the disappointing loss to Ireland, the Wallabies showed that they not only understood what Cheika has been talking about, but that they could actually put it into practise.”

Over on The Roar, Brett McKay is complimentary of Ireland’s display, again pointing to the kicking from Schmidt’s side.

“Ireland found early success with their short precision kicking game, and would continue to take advantage of the space in behind the Wallabies defensive line and wherever Israel Folau wasn’t for the rest of the game,” writes McKay.

“Jonathan Sexton’s deft little kick after a turnover found a flying Simon Zebo in space to open the scoring, and ensured the covering Wallabies sweepers had plenty on their plate from there on.”

Ben McCalman McCalman was the pick of the Wallaby bunch for GAGR readers. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Meanwhile, for the Daily Telegraph, Jamie Pandaram says things aren’t looking promising for the Wallabies heading into next year’s World Cup.

“These numbers just aren’t adding up to a World Cup win for the Wallabies next year. The Wallabies have lost five of their past six Tests. They have lost successive spring tour games for the first time in nine years.

The last time the Wallabies lost three games on a spring tour, that same one in 2005, coach Eddie Jones got the sack. Michael Cheika’s side is facing that scenario this weekend in England.”

Pandaram also referenced Ireland’s kicking game, mentioning that the Wallabies should have seen it coming.

“Australia’s confusion under the high ball was exploited by the Irish, who constantly put up the bomb and more often than not retrieved possession as befuddled Wallabies hesitated.

“And poor ball handling, which has been a common thread throughout 2014, again stifled their ability to capitalise on good attacking work. What Ireland did was predictable, and it worked.”

Sexton and Cluxton talking pressure kicks and sporting motivation is absolutely brilliant

Analysis: Australia’s first-half width drags Ireland out of comfort zone

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Murray Kinsella

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