Dan Sheridan/INPHO

As it happened: Ireland v Australia, Women's Rugby World Cup 2017

Tom Tierney’s side faced Australia at Kingspan Stadium for a shot at the fifth-place play-off.

Hello and welcome to The42’s live coverage of Ireland’s fifth place semi-final against Australia.

It’s take two with the Wallaroos – with Tom Tierney’s side coming out on top in their opening Pool C encounter. Following Thursday’s loss to France however, Ireland failed to qualify for the semi-final stages and are left with fifth place to play for in Belfast.

We’re live from Kingspan Stadium, and we’ll be keeping you up to date with all of the action. Kick-off is at 2pm (live on RTÉ). #BringIt

It’s a dull misty afternoon in Belfast and there’s no shortage of grey space around the ground formerly known as Ravenhill with around 15 minutes before kick-off.

The sparse smatterings of crowd who are around the Kingspan are from a variety of nations: France, New Zealand and Australia colours standing out as they await today’s three games.

Here are your teams for today’s first 5th place semi-final (jeez, that doesn’t sound great).

Australia are without their captain Shannon Parry, but signal their intent with the selection of their best goal-kicker Ashleigh Hewson at out-half.

After finishing ahead of the Wallaroos in the pool stage, Ireland have made three changes to their starting line-up with Louise Galvin, Cliodhna Moloney and Ciara Cooney getting the nod to start.

On the bench, Sophie Spence is again asked to provide impact while Claire McLaughlin is given a jersey for the first time in this tournament.

IRELAND: Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster); Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sene Naoupu (Harlequins), Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster), Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht) (capt), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster).

Replacements: Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster), Ilse van Staden (Cooke/Ulster), Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Anna Caplice (UL Bohemians/Munster), Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union/Ulster), Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster), Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster).

AUSTRALIA: Samantha Treherne (Queensland/Sunnybank); Nareta Marsters (Queensland/Sunnybank), Sarah Riordan (Australian Defence Force/Victoria/Melbourne Unicorns), Sharni Williams (Australia Sevens/ACT/Canberra Royals) (capt), Mahalia Murphy (Australia Sevens/NSW/Campbell Town); Ashleigh Hewson (Sydney/Sydney University), Katrina Barker (NSW Country/Newcastle University); Liz Patu (Queensland/Wests), Cheyenne Campbell (Queensland/Redlands), Hilisha Samoa (Queensland/Brothers), Alisha Hewett (Australian Defence Force/Queensland/GPS), Rebecca Clough (Western Australia/Cottesloe), Millie Boyle (ACT/Canberra Royals), Chloe Butler (South Australia/Parramatta), Grace Hamilton (Sydney/Sydney University).

Replacements: Emily Robinson (Sydney/Warringah), Violeta Tupuola (ACT/Royals), Hana Ngaha (Queensland/Sunnybank), Mollie Gray (Australian Defence Force/NSW/Maitland), Kate Brown (ACT/Tuggeranong Vikings), Fenella Hake (Queensland/Redlands), Kayla Sauvao (Sydney/Parramatta), Trilleen Pomare (Western Australia/Wanneroo).

Referee: Ian Tempest (England)

Anthems over, here comes the kick-off. Ireland playing towards the Nevin Spence stand in the first half after they emerge from a lengthy huddle.

Australia have owned the ball for the first five minutes and after trucking through a long set of phases, win a penalty 45 metres from goal. Treherne kicks for the line and they go again from a line-out.

The pressure finallysubsides with a knock-on to give Ireland a scrum just outside their 22.

TRY! Ireland 0 Australia 5 (Williams ’7)

That Wallaroo power in contact is sapping Ireland and they are forced to back-pedal after another lengthy string of carries.

Australia though, show they’re capable of more too. As Hewson spins the ball left and Sharni Williams crosses.

Hewson’s conversion is under-powered and short.

Ireland respond in fine fashion. A powerful maul pushes the gold pack backwards and Linsday Peat sneaks around the corner to have a go at the line.

Her out-stretched arm comes up just short of the finish. Ireland have a penalty in the offing they’ll go again.

Another penalty against the Wallaroo maul after Ireland push their way over the line.

Attempt 3 coming right up.

TRY! Ireland 5 Australia 5 (Egan ’16)

Third time’s a charm. Egan has control of the mail and Maz Reilly has control of the set-piece as the green pack rolls over the line again. This time it counts, and Nora Stapleton adds a tricky conversion to give the hosts the lead.

Ireland 7 Australia 5

TRY! IRELAND 12 AUSTRALIA 5 (Milller ’17)

Sensational second score from Ireland, Jenny Murphy puts the fastest possible width on the ball with a kick left. Miller collects and cuts Katrina Barker and Treherne inside out to deliver a sparkling finish.

Stapleton’s conversion on this occasion is off target.

The speed of Ireland’s response didn’t give me time to say that captain Claire Molloy seemed to take a bang on the head in the lead up to Australia’s try. The openside was replaced by Anna Caplice while she went for her HIA, but seeing as she has not yet returned, that looks like it will be the end of her tournament.

That reliable Aussie physicality still causing all kinds of trouble for Tierney’s defence, Nicole Cronin does a good job of choking up the final carry and holding the ball up.

Scrum V.

TRY! Ireland 12 Australia 12 (Riordan ’27)

The Wallaroos again deliver scything running lines off a solid forward platform as Hewson and Williams combine before Riordan steams through, through Stapleton, and under the posts for an easy conversion.

TRY! Ireland 12 Australia 17 (Samoa ’34)

That gold standard physicality once again pays dividends. Jenny Murphy looks like she might have clashed heads in trying to tackle Sharni Williams. The centre looked groggy from that point until she stumbled into the last line of defence in time to be shunted over the line by Samoa.

Hewson nails the conversion again before Clarie McLaughlin comes in for Murphy.

Ireland 12 Australia 19

HALF-TIME Ireland 12 Australia 19

The break comes, and you have to say it’s to Ireland’s relief.

The gold waves were beginning to swell again in the closing minutes of the half with desperate tackles flying in from one green shirt after another.

A forward pass brings the first half to an end.

The second half is under way in the Kingspan Stadium then. Ireland return Australia’s kick off with Treherne carrying with venom back at the line.

She’s wrapped up well, but the big carries that follow make more ominous yards until fortunately, Australia are pinged for holding on.

Ooomph! Wee Nicole Cronin gets run over by Treherne returning a kick from Stapleton, but Ciara Cooney brilliantly counter-rucks to force a turnover for Ireland to play off.

Ali Miller almost punished for trying to force a little magic to get Ireland out of another tight situation.

Australia’s physicality backs us into the corner and we don’t have the kicking range to clear consistently, so Miller attempts to stop and go past Masters, but once caught she tries a hasty offload that requires McLaughlin to immediately bundle Riordan into touch.

We’ve the hatches battened down now for the latest cranking up of the pressure from gold hands.

A penalty comes for the Wallaroos in front of the posts and nthey opt to challenge Maz Reilly’s line-out such is their confidence in the stranglehold they can inflict on this game.

TRY! Ireland 12 Australia 26 (Boyle’ ’51)

A solid lien-out, but the maul goes nowhere and Australia botch a certain score as Boyle doesn’t pass to the free and open Murphy outside.

Not to worry, they have all the artillery they need to keep trundling up and Boyle batters her way over with the TMO confirming a touchdown and Hewson nailing the conversion.

That, it saddens me to say, looks like the cap to ensure Ireland will be dragged back to a 2-2 record in this tournament. The performances are getting poorer as we go along.

The crowd are trying to make an impact with chants for the girls in green, but the pressure keeps coming and Ireland are fortunate not to concede a fifth when a cross-field kick bounces over the head of Mahalia Murphy.

We go back for a penalty though which Hewson will take up.

PENALTY! Ireland 12 Australia 29 (Hewson ’58)

Hewson has a languid swing, but more often than not she seems to do just enough to get the ball where it needs to go.

Ireland’s women are currently showing that they are quite capable of playing an expansive passing skill-reliant game.

Naoupu and Stapleton are looping one another and Miller darts into the line to link really well. Too often Ireland have shunned the opportunity to even try such an approach and against Australia and France, going toe-to-toe in a physical joust has been nothing but energy and confidence sapping.

TRY! Ireland 12 Australia 36 (Murphy ’65)

Williams’ handling on a central raid once again undoes Ireland with Murphy storming onto the centre’s pop pass and in under the posts.

There is fight in the home team yet, Larissa Muldoon rips the ball from a scrum and breaks into the Australian 22.

Ireland’s pressure doesn’t build for long unfortunately as the breakdown is penalised and gives the Wallaroos a chance to go to the line-out on the 22.

A flurry of excitement flows from the stands as Ireland threaten a break down the left, but the pill is dropped backwards, leaving us to settle for a line-out.

The move off the set-piece is tidy, Griffin angling back on the inside loop, but she is met by a thundering hit.

Ireland go again, Muldoon running sharply along, hoping for a gap, but the golden company close ranks cleverly and force a scrum.

TRY! Ireland 17 Australia 36 (Spence ’74)

Terrific scrum from Ireland turns the Wallaroos on their heels. Miller and Naoupu are screaming for the ball to go blindside, but Spence ensure the pack retain and she carries over the whitewash.

A missed conversion from Tyrell leaves 19 between the sides with 5 minutes remaining.

TRY! Ireland 24 Australia 36 (Fitzpatrick ’79)

FULL-TIME: Ireland 24 Australia 36 

Some late respectability on the scoreboard then as Fitzpatrick forces her way over the try-line.

She got into that position after a barnstorming quick tap from Leah Lyons (before a knock-on brought us back for another penalty). Tyrell added the extras, but the late silver lining was soon cross off by the final whistle and the celebrations erupting from the Aussie bench.


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