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Ireland had quite the morning against Australia in Eden Park. Here’s our minute-by-minute report.

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FT: Ireland 15-6 Australia

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.

Good morning all and welcome to‘s minute-by-minute coverage of Ireland v Australia in Eden Park. It is the one we have all been waiting for, and it’s just under half-an-hour away.

Plenty of time to get the adrenaline flowing, so. Let’s get started.

First things first. I’m still waiting for the nice smiling man to pass the finalised team-sheets into my hand, but I do have some news that will certainly give the Irish camp a late boost.

After sitting out yesterday’s training as a “precaution,” Wallabies openside David Pocock has failed a fitness test and will not start. What’s more, in the last hour, it has also been confirmed that hooker Stephen Moore is also out with injury.

Yes, Australia have plenty of class in reserve, but their pack today will not be Robbie Deans’s first choice by any stretch of the imagination.

As always, we want to hear from you throughout the morning. Right now, what I want to know is where are you? Are you in Ireland? Are you out in NZ? Or, like John Ó’Ríordán below, are you in Canada where it is shortly after 4.10am? That’s dedication.

If you’re here in Ireland, what’s your story? Have you stumbled out of bed and onto your couch? Are you out in one of the pubs which are organising an early-morning session? Or are you hosting your own party?

Neil and the lads are currently tucking into their pre-match fry in an attempt to aid recovery after last night’s shenanigans. Save us a rasher, lads.

You heard me when I said that David Pocock is out, didn’t you?


On recent form, there’s obviously little reason for optimism, but I know I’m not the only one who thinks that Ireland have a squeak here this morning.

There’s a lot of ifs though — if O’Brien is fully fit; if BOD’s shoulder is right; if Jonny brings his kicking boots. I could go on.

Right, team time. Here’s the Irish XV:

Ireland: Kearney; Bowe, O’Driscoll, D’Arcy, Earls; Sexton, Reddan; Healy, Best, Ross; O’Callaghan, O’Connell; Ferris, O’Brien, Heaslip.

And here’s that changed Aussie XV.

Australia: Beale; O’Connor, Faingaa, McCabe, Ashley-Cooper; Cooper, Genia; Kepu, Polota-Nau, Alexander; Vickerman, Horwill; Elsom, McCalman, Samo.

Now I’m starting to get nervous. The two teams are out on the pitch. Please stand for the national anthem of Australia.

And now, be upstanding for Ireland’s Call.

The teams are pumped, the crowd is pumped, and I’m certainly pumped. Let’s get ready to rumble.

I’m no tactical genius, but my advice: hit Genia and Cooper early and often.

Bryce Lawrence blows the whistle and Quade Cooper gets us underway.

Those of you who had 12 seconds in the “first Keith Earls error” pool, step forward and claim your prize. Straight from Cooper’s kick-off, he puts a foot into touch, giving the Wallabies a hold deep in Irish territory. Maybe he had no other choice, the ball was very close to the line.

Sean O’Brien is certainly up for this one. He squares up to Radike Samo as Ireland turn the ball over and win the scrum.

A bright start for Ireland with some good early attacking pressure. A couple of handling mistakes and slightly off-target passes go unpunished, but it does deprive Ireland of any real momentum. Things will need to be a little bit tighter.

Penalty for Australia as play is pulled back for a high tackle by Kearney on Beale. James O’Connor can open the scoring here…

MISSED PENALTY! (O’Connor, 6′) We’re a long way from Thomond Park now. The boos ring out around the ground as O’Connor steps up. His kick takes a look between the sticks before fading away to the left and wide.

Robust goal-line defending there from Ireland — particularly O’Connell and Healy — just about manages to keep the Aussies out. That move started when Beale got up to claim his own up-and-under; Kearney never left his feet.

Scrum to Australia five metres out.

And it’s a penalty to Australia as Cian Healy drops under pressure. These will be the opening points for James O’Connor.

PENALTY! (O’Connor, 10′) No mistake. Ireland 0-3 Australia

Great response by the Aussies after three or four minutes of early Irish pressure. How will Ireland react now?

MISSED PENALTY! (Sexton, 11′) Brilliant work by Paulie O’Connell who absolutely hammers James Horwill on the ground, forcing the penalty as Australia hold on on the ground.

Jonny Sexton looks quite nervous as he steps up to take his kick at goal. It’s about 40 yards out, fairly central, but he puts it wide.

Great work by Kearney in the air and a wonderful line break by O’Driscoll. Sexton tries a little grubber which doesn’t come off, but play will be brought back for a penalty advantage to Ireland anyway.

PENALTY! (Sexton, 16′) Hopefully that will settle the nerves. Sexton punches one over from close range. Maybe it’s just me, but it seemed to take an age before the touch judges raised their flags. Ireland 3-3 Australia

Ireland are on the march again here as they work their way into the Aussie 22. Some of the support running and off-loading has been very sharp in these last few minutes.

DROP GOAL! (Sexton, 18′) That’ll do very nicely. A great passage of play by Ireland and, with a penalty advantage coming, Sexton drops into the pocket about 20 metres from goal and pops over the dropper. Ireland 6-3 Australia

“This is an Irish team we haven’t seen for six months, since the England game,” says Donal Lenihan. I agree, but we’ve only played 19 minutes so let’s not get too excited just yet.

A very solid scrum by Ireland deep inside their own territory gives Reddan the chance to kick to touch and relieve some pressure.

Here come Australia again though, and Sean O’Brien is penalised for offside in front of the posts, 25 yards out.

PENALTY! (O’Connor, 24′) O’Connor will eat those up all night. Ireland’s discipline at the breakdown could be a tiny bit better.

And no sooner than I have the words typed, Jamie Heaslip gives away the cheapest of cheap penalties, handling the ball in the ruck when it was long lost anyway. Schoolboy stuff.

Here’s O’Connor…

MISSED PENALTY! (O’Connor, 26′) Mercifully, he misses it. Jamie Heaslip is a lucky, lucky fella. No more of that.

As an added bonus, at least we’re not the only ones having kicking problems.

The Australian front row — loosehead Kepu, I think — goes down following some great work by Mike Ross in particular. Sexton has a chance to kick Ireland back into the lead from the Australia ten-metre line.

MISSED PENALTY! (Sexton, 32′) Oh dear. The very audible groan in Eden Park tells you everything you need to know as Sexton misses another. By a bit of a margin as well.

Eoin Reddan is furious with Bryce Lawrence who was standing right in his line of sight as he tried to play the ball off the back of a ruck. The referee seems completely oblivious though and gives Australia the put-in for Reddan’s knock-on.

Three minutes to play in this first half. Ireland have a line-out about 30 metres from the Australian line, but Rory Best’s throw is crooked and the opportunity is lost.

Unbelievable work by Stephen Ferris. Another brilliant Irish scrum against the head forces Genia to scramble under pressure and as he tries to escape, Ferris actually picks him up and carries him back six or seven yards. That one has got the crowd on it’s feet.

HALF TIME: Ireland 6-6 Australia

I’ll be back in a second and we’ll conduct some analysis of the opening 40 minutes. Send in your thoughts.

Jonny Sexton appears to be rather friendless out there this morning. Looking at the comments below, it looks like Alice and Donal would both like to see ROG sooner rather than later, while over on Facebook, Gareth Mullan is of a similar opinion:

Sexton’s kicking is brutal!!! Get O’Gara in for the 2nd half!!!

And to balance the argument, this one has come in from Alex McDwyer:

As much as it pains me to say it we need Sexton’s defense.

Like most of you, I’m going to take the positives out of the first 40. Wonderful work at the scrum; the defence has held up when it needed to; and we’re looking more sharp and composed in attack than we have in a long time.

We’re off again. Let’s keep it going.

A quick reminder of just how lethal Cooper and Beale can be if they are given half a chance. Kearney kicks the ball into the Australian half, but Cooper fields and releases Beale who steps in between Bowe and D’Arcy and races towards the line. A great covering tackle by Reddan breaks the move up and Ireland regain possession.

That’s a little bit disappointing by Ireland. A great break by O’Brien gives D’Arcy a chance to play a nice little kick to within five metres of the Aussie line, but it squirms into touch before Bowe can get to it. Ireland are asleep though, allowing Beale to take the lineout quickly and clear the danger.

A rush of blood to the head by James Horwill who concedes a penalty. Here’s another chance for Jonny Sexton.

PENALTY! (Sexton, 48′) And he nails it. Ireland re-take the lead. Ireland 9-6 Australia

As that kick sailed over the posts, Declan Kidney made a rather unexpected change. ROG is on, but it’s not for Sexton. Gordon D’Arcy has gone off, presumably with an injury, which means that Sexton goes to 12 and O’Gara slots in at out-half.

More monstrous work by Cian Healy forces Australian tighthead Ben Alexander to buckle in the scrum and Ireland have another penalty.

Who’s taking it? It’s Sexton.

MISSED PENALTY! (Sexton, 52′) Ooooh, that was close. Sexton’s penalty comes back off the post and as it drops, Brian O’Driscoll is the only Irish player to react and is right underneath it. The bounce deceives him though and it carries over his head and into Australian arms.

Ireland are living dangerously here for the first time in this second half. Cooper gets the ball and runs inside Paul O’Connell. Paulie just about manages to grab a hold of him and, with numbers out wide, Cooper’s off-load is forward. Just.

BOD goes off for a quick blood sub, but before Australia can take advantage, he’s back. The Wallabies front row collapses under pressure again, and here comes O’Gara, stepping forward like a man on a mission.

PENALTY! (O’Gara, 62′) He nails it, as Eden Park rises to its feet in an absolute crescendo of noise. Ireland 12-6 Australia

In all of my excitement, I forgot to mention that Conor Murray is on for Eoin Reddan. Murray and ROG the only two replacements to make an appearance so far.

15 minutes on the clock. Australia look lethal every time they have the ball, and you have to remember, this is still a one-score game.

A brilliant up-and-under from Sexton and a great recovery from Kearney leave Ireland three metres from the Australian line…

Big pressure from Ireland, but they just can’t manage to breach the Australian defence. Cian Healy knocks it on and Ireland have another chance to test the Wallabies front row in the scrum.

Bryce Lawrence allows two resets as Australia go to ground, but third time around, he can’t allow them off again. It’s a penalty to Ireland underneath the posts and ROG has a chance to put Ireland nine points up.

PENALTY! (O’Gara, 69′) Who else would you want to be taking it? A nerveless O’Gara makes no mistake. Ireland 15-6 Australia

Just over seven minutes on the clock. Do Ireland have the bottle to see this one out? There’ll be questions asked in these closing stages, for sure. Against half-backs as good as Genia and Cooper, now is not the time to switch off.

Australia inside the Irish 22 and work it out to their backs. As the ball goes wide, Faingaa has McCabe on his shoulder but his pass goes to touch rather than to hand.

Tense, tense moments here in Eden Park.

Trimble on for Kearney. I think. I don’t even know any more.

Australia have a scrum ten metres out. Genia comes off the back and, but for a marvellous tackle from Sean O’Brien, he’d be in. Held up inches short of the line.

Wonderful defence by Ireland, but Australia are pressing very, very hard here. They’ve another scrum five metres out.

Tom Court is on for Mike Ross — who must be injured — and he’s immediately targeted by Kepu.

Scrum goes down. Australian penalty. Quick tap.

And there’s the moment that everybody said Quade Cooper was capable of. He tries to play the ball behind his back and Tommy Bowe steps up to intercept. There’s nobody home, and Bowe gets to within two yards of the Australian line before James O’Connor gets across and hauls him into touch.

Conor Murray is over the line, but it’s hauled back for a penalty to Australia. 20 seconds…

Who wants to make a bit of history?

The time is up. As soon as this ball goes dead, Ireland will have beaten Australia.

Unbelievable stuff here. Australia keep the ball alive… but Bryce Lawrence signals for a penalty to Ireland. It’s over.

FULL TIME: Ireland 15-6 Australia

Ireland have beaten the Tri-Nations champions. We’re back lads, we’re back.

Brian O’Driscoll: ”It was the performance we knew we had in us.

“You’d swear we were in Dublin with that crowd, absolutely incredible support, and it was our job to give them something to shout about. Thankfully we got the job done.

There were 58,000 here and it felt like 57,000 of them were shouting for us.

O’Driscoll: “There are 9,000 people packed into the O2 back home, there are people in clubs around the country who got up and had breakfast together this morning. We felt their support and we’re delighted that we gave them something to shout about.

BOD: “It’s half the job done, but we’ve two wins and we’ve two more to get. As much as we’ll enjoy this, let’s not lose sight of that.”

Wow. Just wow. Wow.

As BOD said, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here, but that is an absolutely phenomenal result and won which opens a whole new world of possibilities for Ireland in this tournament.

Declan Kidney: “I was pleased with the way we went about our business. We managed to stifle a very good attacking Australian side.

I think our scrum is getting a little bit stronger. A few people were knocking it over the past year, but it’s getting there. We still probably have a little bit of work to do, but the work only starts for us now

Deccie: “We knew we just had to keep doing what we’re doing. We were managing to get a little bit on top. Forwards win matches, backs decide by how much.

This is our fifth time playing Australia in the Rugby World Cup — you get sick of losing.

I think it’s good for the Rugby World Cup. It puts all the Tri-Nations teams in one half and all the Six Nations teams in the other. Let’s see what happens.

Man of the Match Cian Healy: “It was a tough game, I knew we’d have to dig in but we’re happy enough with that result.”

Healy: “It’s easy to love it [the scrum] when you’re on the front foot, so roll on next week.

It’s huge. We’ve been eyeing up a big game for the last while and it’s about time it came out. Everybody put their hand up and gave a big effort, so we’re happy out.

Alright, that’s about all for the minute-by-minute, but don’t you worry — the party’s just getting started here on and we’ll have every last drop of reaction and analysis right throughout the day.

Thanks for stopping in to witness a historic day for Irish rugby. I think it was worth getting out of bed for.

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Niall Kelly