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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 24 February, 2020

Ireland's winning streak over as Cheika's Wallabies power to Brisbane victory

Joe Schmidt’s team were second best and find themselves 1-0 down in the series.

Australia 18

Ireland 9

Murray Kinsella reports from Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

IRELAND’S 12-GAME winning streak was ended by an impressively physical and lethally clinical Wallabies side in Brisbane, with a 13-point haul from out-half Bernard Foley crucial.

Rob Kearney and Joey Carbery dejected after the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

It was an outstanding Test match in front of 46,273 people at Suncorp Stadium as Michael Cheika’s men gave themselves the early advantage in this three-game series.

Grand Slam champions Ireland were blunt in attack and couldn’t muster a try, although CJ Stander almost scored early in the second half only for Wallabies wing Dane Haylett-Petty to make a sensational tackle to prevent him touching down.

The hits were brutal throughout a ferocious content with the Wallabies defence on form and try-scorer David Pocock proving to be an utter menace at the breakdown, one area where Joe Schmidt’s side were second best.

Joey Carbery, handed the number 10 shirt, got through 57 minutes in which he mixed some good play with a handful of errors before being replaced by Johnny Sexton with Ireland leading 9-8.

The more experienced man couldn’t guide Ireland home, however, as the Wallabies showed their mettle in the final quarter to power to victory, as Israel Folau made a big impact in the air.

21-year-old James Ryan was superb even as he tasted defeat for the first time in his professional career – his personal streak ending at 23 games – while John Ryan, Rob Herring and Iain Henderson had some big moments up front.

The centre pairing of Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki struggled against the superb Wallabies combination of Kurtley Beale and Samu Kerevi, while Rob Kearney had a tough evening at fullback.

Joey Carbery tackled by Adam Coleman and Sekope Kepu Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ireland were in a rare position at the break, trailing the Wallabies 8-6 after an enthralling 40 minutes of almost non-stop action.

The Wallabies were first off the mark through Foley’s opening penalty, when Folau forced a knock-on from Kearney in an aerial battle and Aki picked the ball up in an offside position.

A clever grubber kick and follow-up tackle by captain Peter O’Mahony provided Ireland with the five-metre platform to pressure the Wallabies into creeping offside under the posts, Carbery punishing his opposite number Foley’s infringement with three points.

The hits were making a dent on the Richter scale, with efforts from Marika Koroibete and Beale on Conor Murray and Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper on Carbery drawing winces from a lively crowd at Suncorp Stadium, where there were many green jerseys in the stands.

James Ryan’s thunderous hit and turnover on debutant hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa gave Ireland impetus, soon after an excellent read and hit on the right edge from Keith Earls.

Ireland needed a stunning try-saving tackle from Jacob Stockdale on Koroibete over in the right corner in the 20th minute, after Beale had burst through Henshaw’s missed tackle.

The Ulsterman, sweeping across from the left, hammered his opposite number into touch when he had looked almost certain to score.

James Ryan tackled by Will Genia Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

An intricate starter play from a lineout platform soon put Earls one-on-one with Folau wide on the right, the Ireland wing chipping ahead only for the Wallabies fullback to block the ball into touch.

Aki carried aggressively from the resulting set-piece and Hooper was harshly pinged for not rolling away as the superb Pocock jackalled over the ball, Carbery on target again with the penalty for a 6-3 lead.

But Ireland’s error count rose as the frenetic nature of the game appeared to sap them of energy, Stockdale grubber-kicking into touch and Herring offloading forward on the next two attacks. Losing Earls to a head injury – replaced by Jordan Larmour – didn’t help their composure.

Kearney, uncharacteristically error-prone in Brisbane, failed to gather a Wallabies kick in the 34th minute and then after Pocock gathered the bouncing ball, the home side flashed it to the left.

Henshaw attempted to shut Foley down with a ball-and-all tackle but the Wallabies out-half was skillful enough to catch and pass, helping to send Kerevi steaming at the Ireland tryline, only for Stockdale to stop him.

But scrum-half Will Genia was on hand to pass the swiftly-recycled ball to his left and, with Larmour attracted into the ruck, Foley dived over through Kearney’s desperate attempt.

CJ Stander charges to the line Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Foley couldn’t convert from close to the touchline, but the Wallabies nearly manufactured another try before the break as Koroibete burst forward yet again, but referee Marius van der Westhuizen called play back for a knock-on.

Trailing 8-6, Ireland welcomed the half-time whistle with open arms.

They very nearly had the perfect start to the second half as James Ryan broke a Foley tackle and found Stander charging onto the ball on a superb line.

Stander had Herring in support as he sprinted into the 22 but opted to back himself to finish, and failed as Haylett-Petty made the try-saver, getting himself underneath the ball, the TMO review confirming as much.

Ireland hammered away at the Aussies over 19 phases from the ensuing five-metre scrum but the Wallabies defence was strong and Pocock ended the passage with a turnover penalty.

All the good work was almost undone when Paenga-Amosa overthrew the lineout, leading to an offside penalty from the scrambling Wallabies, but Carbery missed a very kickable penalty.

Pocock soon had another breakdown turnover, while Pete Samu made an instant impact with a steal of his own a minute after coming off the bench for his debut, but the Wallabies were still short of their best attacking form.

Carbery made amends for his miss just before he was replaced by Sexton, knocking over three points in the 56th minute after van der Westhuizen penalized the Wallabies at the breakdown, leaving Ireland 9-8 in front.

Israel Folau blocks Keith Earls' kick Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Henderson forced a knock-on from the Wallabies with excellent pressure on Genia at a lineout, but when Murray broke from the subsequent scrum he opted to kick the ball ahead and it rolled dead.

As the game entered the final quarter, the Wallabies thought they were in front again.

Aki was ponderous on the ball for Ireland and paid the price by being hit by Kerevi and the Wallabies piling in for a counter-ruck turnover.

They transitioned into attack at frightening speed, Beale creating space by targeting replacement front rows Tadhg Furlong and Sean Cronin out on the left, passing to Foley, who drew in Cronin and sent Folau scorching over to score.

However, van der Westhuizen and TMO Ben Skeen picked up a tackle off the ball by Adam Coleman on Ryan before the turnover and rather harshly chalked the try off, even it was technically a penalty. A let-off for Ireland.

Sexton missed touch, however, and the Wallabies began to mount the pressure. Their accuracy was lacking, with handling errors from sub lock Rob Simmons and centre Kerevi inside the Ireland 22.

It was their set-piece that gave them the chance to sneak ahead, replacement front row Taniela Tupou, Tom Robertson and Tolu Latu powering to a scrum penalty that Foley rewarded with three points and an 11-9 lead.

Rob Kearney with Marika Koroibete and Will Genia Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

A brilliant Folau win in the air on a crossfield kick created the next opportunity, with Genia following up with a clever box kick deep behind Ireland, with Stockdale was smashed by Kerevi in the backfield, giving up a penalty.

The Wallabies bravely opted to tap the penalty five metres out and they smashed over through Pocock from close-range at the end of some meaty phases, Foley converting the try to all but seal the win.

Replacement scrum-half Kieran Marmion had a possible try ruled out with the clock in the red, but it would have been firmly of the consolation variety as Ireland now find themselves chasing this series.

Australia scorers:

Tries: Bernard Foley, David Pocock

Conversions: Bernard Foley [1 from 2]

Penalties: Bernard Foley [2 from 2]

Ireland scorers:

Penalties: Joey Carbery [3 from 4]

AUSTRALIA: Isreal Folau; Dane Haylett-Petty (Reece Hodge ’63), Samu Kerevi, Kurtley Beale, Marika Koroibete; Bernard Foley, Will Genia (Nick Phipps ’75); Scott Sio (Tom Robertson ’63), Brandon Paenga-Amosa (Tolu Latu ’55), Sekope Kepu (Taniela Tupou ’55); Izack Rodda (Rob Simmons ’55), Adam Coleman; David Pocock (Lukhan Tui ’75), Michael Hooper (captain), Caleb Timu (Pete Samu ’49, reversal HIA ’50 to ’58).

IRELAND: Rob Kearney; Keith Earls (Jordan Larmour ’25), Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Joey Carbery (Johnny Sexton ’57), Conor Murray (Kieran Marmion ’78); Jack McGrath (Cian Healy ’48), Rob Herring (Sean Cronin ’57), John Ryan (Tadhg Furlong ’48); Iain Henderson (Quinn Roux ’65), James Ryan; Peter O’Mahony (captain) (Jack Conan ’69), Jordi Murphy, CJ Stander.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen [SARU].

Attendance: 46,273.

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Murray Kinsella

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