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Schmidt hails 'super line-breaks' and breakdown work as Ireland bite back against Australia

The Kiwi was pleased Ireland made use of the pressure they created in Melbourne, but felt there were more chances left untaken.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

A WEEK ON from being held try-less with his team’s creativity criticised after an 18-9 loss to Australia, Joe Schmidt felt there were more scores left untaken from today’s 26-21 win over the Wallabies.

Tries from Andrew Conway and Tadhg Furlong along with 16 points from the boot of Johnny Sexton helped Ireland claim their first win away to the Wallabies since 1979. But despite dominating possession, a late fightback from the hosts made it a one-score contest by the final hooter.

“I thought the line-break from Tadhg Furlong through the middle, maybe a pass to Garry Ringrose was on,” Schmidt said on Sky Sports, thinking back to his tighthead’s attempted long pass which was blocked down by Bernard Foley.

“Keith Earls went through the middle… there were some super line breaks. But they’re tough to score against in behind, they work really hard. Nathan Grey has them working really hard defensively and that’s a credit to them.”

Part of the difficulty, the Kiwi noted, was how Australia were allowed to flout the offside line in defence. And despite a string of second half penalty concessions (the final tally was 15-12 against Australia) referee Paul Williams never appeared close to issuing a second yellow to a gold jersey.

“I think our penalty count was level with theirs at one stage, and our yellow cards was double. So there was probably a little bit of frustration.

We felt we got very close, but one of the ways to stop a team scoring is to be combative, they pushed the offside line and got penalised a few times. but at the same time they kept us off their line and it was very hard to score.”

Overall, Schmidt was pleased with Ireland’s own breakdown efforts to overturn last weekend’s defeat in Brisbane. Particularly impressive, was the impact of Peter O’Mahony who forced three penalties on defensive rucks.

“I thought we pinched a few of their balls. Peter O’Mahony led from the front and was superb.

“I thought we didn’t let them get too many of ours: a couple of times – Michael Hooper is good at faking the poach and bouncing out – then Garry Ringrose came off his feet trying to get to Michael Hooper.

Rob Herring, Jordi Murphy and Rob Kearney celebrate as Referee Paul Williams signals a knock on Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“David Pocock got one or two, but apart from that we were very good at the breakdown and that allowed us maintain the pressure that we let slip and released last week.”

Not that there weren’t worrying moments towards the finish. Tests of this intensity crank up the fatigue factor at the end of a long, hard season.

“We were just hanging on at the end,” says Schmidt, “Joey Carbery came on to replace Devin Toner – I don’t think I’ve seen that before and I’m hoping I don’t see it again – Dev was cramping up pretty badly and we knew we had to defend the last six or seven minutes.

“Joey did well coming on, we’re just gonna have to glue everyone back together and see how we shape up next week.”

First win on Aussie soil since 1979 sends Ireland into series decider in Sydney

Peter ‘turnover’ O’Mahony leads from the front as Ireland deliver their season’s best

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Sean Farrell

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