The Wallabies’ grand slam campaign is over after Ireland agonisingly beat them 27-24 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Ireland had the control going into half-time at 17-7, restricting the Wallabies to only one try in the first half. Penalty goals from Paddy Jackson were the opening points as the Wallabies showed ill-discipline. The first try came from Iain Henderson in the 24th minute after he took advantage of some flimsy Wallabies defence. Nearing half-time, inside-centre Garry Ringrose scored for Ireland after a nice passage of team attacking play. The Wallabies finally got some points with winger Dane Haylett-Petty scoring just near the uprights after a magical ball from Michael Hooper that reduced the deficit to 10 points.
In the second half, the Wallabies fought their way back with some crucial tries. A penalty though, made it tougher for the Australians as the score went to 20-7. Soon after that, in the 46th minute, Tevita Kuridrani provided a glimmer of hope when he scored his fourth try in as many tests. Penalties again, hurt the Aussies with Jackson slotting the easy three. Australia were not going to go down without a fight even though the fulltime hooter was approaching. Substitute winger Sefa Naivalu raced away to score to narrow the margin. A bit of controversy to end the match was in the 79th minute when the referee handed goal kicker Bernard Foley a yellow card which marked the end and gave Jackson the final three points.
To finish their grand slam tour, the Wallabies fly to London and will try to find redemption when they face England at Twickenham. With the win, Ireland became the first team since England in 2003 to beat all Southern Hemisphere teams (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia) in the calendar year. – Jesse Mullens
Photo of an Irish player reaching out to score from the Irish Rugby Twitter feed.