Ireland v Australia: Seven moments that mattered

Brendan O’Brien picks out the major turning points from Ireland’s battling win.

24. Zebo’s moment of magic

Ireland were superb in the opening quarter, dominating possession and territory and hammering away at the Australian line. Yet, all they had to show for it was a penalty from Paddy Jackson and it mirrored their inability to touch down the week before against the All Blacks.

Simon Zebo provided the key to unlock the door. A delicate grubber kick in behind the Wallaby line allowed Keith Earls to slip round the back and when the Limerick wing looked up it was to see the onrushing Iain Henderson in support. Try, Ireland and game on.

34. Shades of Paris

It’s 16 years since Brian O’Driscoll’s reputation went stratospheric with that hat-trick in the Stade de France and Garry Ringrose’s first try for his country brought memories of the great man’s third that day back into sharp focus. Ringrose was lightning fast in his reaction when a loose ball presented itself deep in the Australian 22, scooping off the ground and scooting over with the same low centre of gravity that the master himself had patented over so many years.

40. Karma bites back

Ringrose’s try owed just a bit to Iain Henderson’s illegal clearout on Stephen Moore moments earlier but it was Ireland with cause for complaint before the break when Joey Carbery was tackled around the neck and play waved on. Moments later Dane Haylett-Petty was touching down.

42. Australia denied

With Kieran Marmion on the wing, Ireland’s backline was clearly going to be targeted and it took Australia just two minutes to knife through it. Unfortunately for the tourists, the last pass from David Pocock was adjudged to be forward and Ireland survived. Temporarily.

51. Folau fails to finish

Tevita Kuridrani had already claimed Australia’s second try by the time Israel Folau found himself marauding down Marmion’s wing with ball in hand, two men outside him and just the one green shirt in their way. Somehow the seemingly inevitable try didn’t materialise.

62. The bench empties

Australia had signed for a third try and Bernard Foley landed a penalty to take the visitors four points clear when Joe Schmidt called Cian Healy and Peter O’Mahony in. Their contribution, along with Ultan Dillane who checked in ten minutes earlier, would be enormous.

67. The turning point

Under the pump since half-time, Ireland somehow found the means to put together a storming riposte that swept through the Australian half. Huge carries from Tadhg Furlong and Peter O’Mahony stand out but it was a team effort that ended with Keith Earls going over in the corner.


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