• Match: Ireland v Australia
• Series: Autumn International/Autumn Nations Series
• Venue: Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland
• Time : Sunday, 20th Nov. 2022 (7 AM Australian Eastern Daylight time)/Saturday, 19th Nov. 2022 (8 PM local time)
|Bundee Aki 66′||Tries||Jordan Petaia 70′|
|Jack Crowley 67′||Conversions||Bernard Foley 71′|
|Jack Crowley 9′|
Ross Byrne 75′
|Penalty Goals||Bernard Foley 55′|
|Yellow Cards||Folau Faingaa’ 36′|
• The Aviva Stadium in Dublin bore witness to a test match between Ireland and Australia that would best be described as a ‘slog’. With just 23 points scored in the entire game, the two sides played out a gripping, but not particularly pretty encounter, which was won late on from the boot of Ross Byrne, who was drafted in to the Ireland squad just minutes ahead of kick-off.
• Going for a third victory out of three against the Southern Hemisphere’s traditional rugby playing powers, Ireland were dealt a blow before a ball had been kicked, with their captain and World Rugby player of the year nominee Johnny Sexton ruled out, having picked up a calf injury in the warm-up. 22-year-old Jack Crowley came into the XV to make his first start, and kicked a 10th minute penalty to get Ireland on the board.
• Australia thought they had opened the scoring even earlier though, after Nic White darted from dummy half to ground the ball after just four minutes. However, play was brought back for an Irish penalty, after the TMO spotted an illegal neck roll by Australia in the preceding ruck. That was to begin a half of missed opportunities for Australia, who spent plenty of time entrenched in Ireland’s 22, but finished the first 40 minutes scoreless, and trailing 3-0.
• The try-scoring action finally began in the last quarter of an hour, after replacement centre Bundee Aki crashed over from close range following a sustained spell of pressure on the Australian line. Ireland thought that might seal the game, but the Wallabies hit straight back as their back-line clicked into gear, allowing Jordan Petaia to scythe through the cover defence and skid into score in the corner. With both of these tries converted, the game was again level heading into the final moments.
• Those two five-pointers were as good as it got on the try-scoring front though, with the game soon returning to a slow-moving battle of inches as the two sets of players fought for control. Ireland gained a late penalty, and Ross Byrne, drafted in at the 11th hour to cover for Crowley on the bench, notched a sideline penalty to re-take a three-point lead for Ireland, and the hosts saw out the remaining four minutes to seal a momentous victory in Dublin.
• The Australian team showed a good aggressive style of play in the both half of the game. But no matter how hard Australia tried, they couldn’t score much points. Tried several times to score tries, but they managed to score only one try.
• In the first half, the Irish team was leading by 3:0. In the 2nd Half Australia started to pile on the points but with Bundee Aki’s try and couple of penalty goals won the match for Ireland.
Wounded Wallabies must find way to win
• Australia have now lost three of the four games they’ve played in the Northern Hemisphere this autumn, and this is the first one that has been settled by more than a single point
• Australia have one more chance to win a match in 2022, as they head to Wales next weekend, but with France 2023 nearing ever closer, the Wallabies must find a way to see off a game that hangs in the balance, particularly when the chips are down and the stakes are high.
Dour victory won’t hamper Irish spirit
• The best teams know how to win, be it with flashy moves to score bucket-loads of points, or by grinding out every possible point to suffocate their opposition into submission.
• Winning ugly is certainly one way to prepare for the latter stages of a World Cup, and with their 2022 campaign done and dusted, Ireland will now set their sights on the 2023 edition in France.