Sport Rugby

Sunday 21 January 2018

Ireland v Australia - Game At A Glance

Man of the match

David Kelly

David Kelly

Michael Hooper

Quade Cooper was the star individual but double try scorer Hooper's efforts at spoiling on the floor in addendum to his fine link play, demonstrated the yawning gap between a side that decided to deploy a true No 7 to complement their wide game and a side that didn't.

TURNING POINT

Australia's 10-point haul in as many minutes after the break exploited an Ireland side hamstrung by the enforced withdrawal of Johnny Sexton, with Ian Madigan and Luke Marshall done all ends up for Quade Cooper's decisive third try.

CROWD WATCH

When Australia ground their way over for the fourth try from an imposing maul, the silence was akin to that which greeted Michael Lynagh's try near the Wanderers clubhouse all those years ago. Many started hustling towards the exits.

MAGIC MOMENT

Cooper's goose-stepping and Israel Folau's remarkable athleticism and grace under pressure. But Scott Fardy's delicious offload for Hooper's opening try was also pretty special. No Irish forward came close to replicating such a skill. They rarely do.

TALKING POINT

Joe Schmidt's transformation of this Irish team and his commitment to effecting a radical change in approach to how they play the game will take time – lots of it. Unfortunately, he has little.

REF WATCH

Chris Pollock missed a variety of technical infringements, including some clear blocking from Irish players, but the New Zealander was mostly on the money, despite Mike Ross' quibbles about the scrum. His yellow and red card calls were spot on.

WHAT THEY SAID

Joe Schmidt (Ireland coach):

"I would implore the public to hang in there, that we will be working as hard as we can. I have got a lot of time for this group of young men who will try to deliver something a bit special next week."

Ewen McKenzie (Australia coach):

"They have only been together briefly and we know how difficult it is to put something together quickly ourselves."

WHAT'S NEXT?

Ireland conclude their November series on Sunday (2.0) with the visit of New Zealand, who have never lost to the hosts. Following their 12th successive victory, against England on Saturday, they remain unbeaten in 2013.

Irish Independent

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