Monday 18 June 2018

France FRA 2

Australia AUS 1

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Peru PER 0

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Costa Rica CRI 0

Serbia SRB 1

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Germany GER 0

Mexico MEX 1

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Brazil BRA 1

Switzerland SUI 1

Full Time

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Denmark DNK

Australia AUS

France FRA

Peru PER

Argentina ARG

Croatia CRO

Brazil BRA

Costa Rica CRI

Nigeria NGA

Iceland ISL

Serbia SRB

Switzerland SUI

Belgium BEL

Tunisia TUN

South Korea KOR

Mexico MEX

Germany GER

Sweden SWE

England ENG

Panama PAN

Japan JPN

Senegal SEN

Poland POL

Colombia COL

Saudi Arabia SAU

Egypt EGY

Uruguay URY

Russia RUS

Spain ESP

Morocco MAR

Iran IRN

Portugal POR

Denmark DNK

France FRA

Australia AUS

Peru PER

Iceland ISL

Croatia CRO

Nigeria NGA

Argentina ARG

Mexico MEX

Sweden SWE

South Korea KOR

Germany GER

Switzerland SUI

Costa Rica CRI

Serbia SRB

Brazil BRA

Senegal SEN

Colombia COL

Japan JPN

Poland POL

Panama PAN

Tunisia TUN

England ENG

Belgium BEL

Ireland's glass is half-full but improvements needed all round

1. Ireland’s narrow defence was exposed several times throughout the Six Nations and Australia clearly had done their homework on that. We can see here how Ireland get off the line together (red line) quickly but the defence is drawn to the pod of four Australian players in midfield. Dane Haylett-Petty and Marika Koroibete (blue circles) have, however, held their width and have already identified the space outside Keith Earls. Only a stunning last-ditch Jacob Stockdale tackle saves Ireland’s blushes.
1. Ireland’s narrow defence was exposed several times throughout the Six Nations and Australia clearly had done their homework on that. We can see here how Ireland get off the line together (red line) quickly but the defence is drawn to the pod of four Australian players in midfield. Dane Haylett-Petty and Marika Koroibete (blue circles) have, however, held their width and have already identified the space outside Keith Earls. Only a stunning last-ditch Jacob Stockdale tackle saves Ireland’s blushes.
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It was interesting to hear Bryan Habana laud Australia's win, as the legendary Springbok winger claimed that this was a very good Ireland team, who were only shorn of one or two first-choice players.

The fact is, it wasn't. Sure, they lost their record of 12 successive wins, but the team that started in Brisbane was some way from being fully loaded.

By giving several players a chance from the start, Joe Schmidt was by no means underestimating the Wallabies but rather testing his squad depth, which at this stage of the World Cup cycle, is absolutely crucial.

The head coach will be disappointed by several aspects of his side's play, namely their scrum, the defensive issues, and their lack of intensity, particularly at the breakdown, while Schmidt was also angered by some of referee Marius van der Westhuizen's decisions.

But when you step back from the negatives, there were enough chinks of light in Ireland's performance.

No one can deny that several players looked shattered, and after a gruelling season, who could blame them? Even the big names who came off the bench looked a bit leggy and couldn't pull the game back in Ireland's favour.

A couple of errors aside, Joey Carbery largely went well. The Munster-bound out-half was singled out for plenty of treatment but he coped with the heavy traffic that was coming down his channel and in the middle of it all threw in some lovely touches.

John Ryan and Rob Herring will have done their chances to be third-choice in their respective positions no harm at all but both will know when called upon next they need to take their performances up another level.

We saw during the Six Nations how Ireland are more of an attacking threat with Garry Ringrose in the team, and he is a certainty to return for the second Test.

The same can be said for Dan Leavy. Australia dominated the breakdown, mainly through the immense David Pocock, but the uber-confident Leavy will feel that if he can prove his fitness, he can match the Wallabies' talisman.

The defeat was a bit of a wake-up call, but Schmidt would much prefer to get it now rather than in Japan next year. The Kiwi can still unleash plenty of fire-power, so he won't be panicking.

Ultimately, this game mattered more to Australia. Come Saturday, however, the tables will be turned and the tourists, equipped with their big guns, must improve across the board to keep the series alive.

Rugby must do more to ensure it leads concussion management

This was not a good weekend for rugby's Head Injury Assessment (HIA).

It began on Saturday morning during the All Blacks' win over France when a sickening clash of heads involving three players resulted in referee Luke Pearce calling a halt to play and instructing all parties to remain on the turf until the medics came on.

Apart from the fact that Ofa Tu'ungafasi should have been shown a straight red card for his high hit on Remy Grosso, which left the France winger with a double skull fracture, he also caused a brutal clash of heads with his team-mate Sam Cane.

To the referee's credit, who it must be said had a poor game overall, he recognised the severity of the incident but somehow he allowed Cane to play on without having to go off to be assessed. A couple of minutes later, the flanker was called ashore for a HIA.

World Rugby's mantra for concussion management is "recognise and remove". This clearly did not occur here.

Similarly during the Ireland game, Keith Earls suffered an elbow to the head in an aerial duel with Dane Haylett-Petty. The Moyross man got medical attention, played on and was involved in the next phase of play before he went off and failed his HIA.

It goes without saying that the medics should be taking the decision out of the players' hands, but perhaps Van der Westhuizen could have done more.

As Alan Quinlan said in commentary: "We want to send out the right message." The message on both of these occasions was, unfortunately, murky. If rugby is going to be the leader in this field, it must do so with clarity.

ANALYSIS

45Irelands1.jpg
1. Ireland’s narrow defence was exposed several times throughout the Six Nations and Australia clearly had done their homework on that. We can see here how Ireland get off the line together (red line) quickly but the defence is drawn to the pod of four Australian players in midfield. Dane Haylett-Petty and Marika Koroibete (blue circles) have, however, held their width and have already identified the space outside Keith Earls. Only a stunning last-ditch Jacob Stockdale tackle saves Ireland’s blushes.
45Irelands2.jpg
2. A minute later, the Wallabies use a similar ploy. Koroibete hugs the touchline, with Michael Hooper (blue) this time offering himself as a decoy line. We can see how narrow the Ireland defence (red) is again, but Australia’s sloppiness doesn’t allow them to take advantage.
45Irelands3.jpg
3. For Australia’s opening try, in the top left corner that Haylett-Petty (blue) has already signalled to quickly move the ball wide.
45Irelands4.jpg
4. Bernard Foley (green) recognises Ireland’s narrow defence (red). Samu Kerevi and Haylett-Petty (blue) stay wide, which isolates Stockdale (orange). This time the Wallabies make no mistake and Foley scores a well- worked try in the corner.

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