WATCH: Missed chances as Ireland come up short against Australia

Ireland suffered a frustrating 18-9 loss to Australia on Saturday afternoon and will now have to record back to back wins if they are to claim a first ever test series down under.

Bernard Foley opened proceedings with a third minute penalty as the Australians looked solid in defence despite only less than 40\% of the ball the opening ten minutes.

Ireland were assured with ball in hand without making much inroads into an Australian defensive unit with impressive line speed and tackling. Kurtley Beale however was a little too eager in the 13th minute and was pinged for offside. Carbery slotted to level the game 3-3.

The first genuine try scoring chance came in the 19th minute when Robbie Henshaw slipped off a Kurtley Beale tackle. Beale found Koroibete who looked destined to score in the corner but a superb covering tackle from Jacob Stockdale snuffed out the chance.

The home side had a sustained period of pressure but that was brought to a halt by a typical Peter O’Mahony turnover. Ireland would take a 25th minute lead when Carbery slotted another straight forward penalty from straight in front after Pocock was penalised for not releasing.

Momentum had swung back in Ireland’s favour but somewhat against the run of play Australia would get the first try of the game. It came again as Henshaw shot up out of the line and didn’t stop the ball going wide. Bernard Foley was on the end of a sweeping move to score in the corner. The conversion was off target as Ireland now trailed 8-6 after 36 minutes.

It was the final score of the half as Joe Schmidt’s side would go in trailing by just two points at the break. It was a decent opening half for Ireland and but ultimately a couple of defensive lapses cost Ireland the try. Ireland did however have the better of possession and territory but would have looked to use it better in the second half.

Ireland came out in the second half with renewed intent and when CJ Stander broke the Australian defensive line, it looked a certain try. However Haylett-Petty worked tirelessly in defence to get his hands under the ball and prevent the try. The hosts defended the 5 metre scrum well and after several phases Pocock forced the turnover.

Michael Hooper was then caught offside presenting Carbery with a kickable opportunity by Munster’s new acquisition was wide right with his attempt and the scoreboard was unchanged.

That was his last act as Joe Schmidt sent Sexton into the arena.

Ireland caught a major break when referee Marius van der Westhuizen disallowed Folau’s stunning try for an early tackle by Adam Coleman who hit James Ryan off the ball.

Ireland’s first-choice props had come on early, but they gave up a penalty under pressure from Taniela Tupou and Foley put Australia back in front with 11 minutes remaining.

A superb Folau catch and a subsequent penalty concession from Stockdale might have resulted in a further penalty, but instead Genia tapped the penalty and he got the reward as Pocock capped a fantastic comeback after his hiatus to power over from close range.

Foley converted and, try as they might, Ireland could not muster a fightback, Kieran Marmion having a score ruled out in time added on for an earlier knock-on.

 

 

 

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Raffaele Rocca

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