Ireland v Australia

Joe Schmidt’s side take on the touring Wallabies in their final Test match of a mammoth year

John O'Sullivan Sat, Nov 26
LIVE: Ireland v Australia

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  • Hello and welcome to the Irish Times live blog of Ireland v Australia at the Aviva stadium. John O'Sullivan here on a rather chilly late Dublin evening. There is a little over an hour to go until kickoff but I'll try and keep you entertained and informed.

    The first bit of news is mixed from an Irish perspective Sean O'Brien is OUT through injury. Josh van der Flier comes into the team and Munster captain Peter O'Mahony is named among the replacements.

    Jared Payne has been passed fit. He's an important player for Ireland.

    At the moment I am the only person sitting in the press box and probably only one of a hundred that have taken their seats. The tunes are banging out over the tannoy. The Ireland and Australia teams arrived about 15 minutes ago.

  • Here are today's teams complete with changes.


    IRELAND: Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster); Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster); Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster); Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (capt), Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster), Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster).


    Replacements: Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht), Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster), Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht), Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster), Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster).


    AUSTRALIA: Israel Folau (Waratahs); Dane Haylett-Petty (Force), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), Reece Hodge (Rebels), Henry Speight (Brumbies); Bernard Foley (Waratahs), Will Genia (Stade Francais); Scott Sio (Brumbies), Stephen Moore (Brumbies) (capt), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), Rory Arnold (Brumbies), Rob Simmons (Reds), Dean Mumm (Waratahs), Michael Hooper (Waratahs), David Pocock (Brumbies).


    Replacements: Tolu Latu (Waratahs), James Slipper (Reds), Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies), Kane Douglas (Reds), Sean McMahon (Rebels), Nick Phipps (Waratahs), Quade Cooper (Reds), Sefanaia Naivalu (Rebels).


    Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)

    Assistant Referees: JP Doyle, Craig Maxwell-Keys (both England)

    Television Match Official: Eric Gauzins (France)

  • I am looking at a couple of hookers.......get your minds out of the gutter. Ireland's Rory Best, who wins his 100th cap today and Australia's Stephen Moore have conducted the coin toss.

    Lacking the audio and based on the fact that referee Jerome Garces turned to Best after the coin came to rest, Ireland appear to have won the toss. I can't tell you at the moment whether they will kickoff or receive but I'm working on it.  

  • For those of you with time to kill or no friends, here's a little bit of light reading before the match.

    Matt Williams offers his thoughts on on the match here.

  • Gerry Thornley spoke to Rory Best during the week about becoming Ireland's fifth centurion after Brian O'Driscoll, Ronan O'Gara, Paul O'Connell and John Hayes.  

    The Banbrige farmer and Ireland's captain today is a top man as well as a player. Read what he had to say here.  

  • That Robbie Williams ad, you know the one where he wears an Ireland journey and publicises his concert at the Aviva stadium has only been on the five times so far since I've taken my seat. I'm going to resent it pretty soon.  
  • A 14-man England have beaten Argentina 27-14 at Twickenham. English wing Elliot Daly was sent off for upending Pumas number eight Leonardo Senatore in the air. No quibble about the decsion but Eddie Jones side showed their mettle to win out, particularly as they were down to 13 players at one stage when Dan Cole was sent to the bin.  
  • They say a week is a long time in politics but it's equally applicable to sport. Conor O'Shea's Italy have gone from beating the Springboks last week to losing to Tonga 19-17 in Padova thanks to a late penalty.    
  • The pitch doesn't look in great nick. It's pretty bare in places. Not sure why. It certainly didn't cut up last week.  
  • Munster go top of the Guinness Pro12 with a 46-3 thumping of Benetton Treviso. You can read how here.  
  • Finally in the required reading section of this blog Gavin Cummiskey looks at today's coaches Joe Schmidt and Michael Cheika and looks back on their respective times in Leinster with a little help from some people who knew them well. You can read that article here.
  • Okay, I hope you've found some friends and stiopped being anti-social, apart from obviously being glued to this blog. Time to concentrate on today's game.  
  • Gavin Cummiskey, being the true pro that he is, is now braving the cold and he's staring moodily into the middle distance. I'd take a picture but my hands are too cold. No wait.......
  • Scotland beat Georgia. Six tries.  
  • Here are some pre-match thoughts from Australian captain Stephen Moore.

    "When you get to this stage of the tour, you've been training hard and you're played a few Test matches so that's a big challenge for this team to be able to front up and play our best game of the tour.

    "That's something we've tried to address during the week, we've tried to keep our training as intense as we have all tour and we're ready to play now on Saturday.

    "I think if you look at the way Ireland have played over the last month, clearly (it's) a huge challenge. I think they're playing as well as they have for a while and they've shown that in Chicago and even last weekend, I know they didn't get the result but they played some great rugby and their consistency was there. We're going to have to play our best game of the tour to win."


  • Teams have been out on the pitch for about 25-minutes at this stage doing their warm-up.  

    Thin Lizzy's Boys are Back in Town is blaring out.  

  • There has been a discernible lack of atmosphere so far on the streets and the stadium.  
  • Apparently there's another game about to start shortly.  
  • Want to know what the inside of the Irish dressing room looks like. Well here you go.  
  • And later on tonight, France host the All Blacks.  
  • A little more from Moore, this time about his Irish roots. Born in Ireland to Irish parents.  
  • Tried to conduct an impromptu poll to see who people, well journalists, think will win the match. No one will commit. Bookies have it at scratch in the handicap.  
  • A bit of Rory Best love.  
  • We are about 12 minutes to kickoff.  
  • The drumming has started.  
  • Given their are three anthems teams should be out presently.
  • Can't quite see who but one member of the Aussie party, in his blazer and chinos is throwing some very impressive shapes to the drumming. The boy's got rhythm.  
  • Rory Best walks out on his own, gets a standing ovation. Lovely touch, well deserved.  
  • Time for the anthems.  
  • First up Advance Australia Fair.  
  • Best accompanied out onto the pitch by mascots and his two children Ben and Penney. So he wasn't strictly alone when he ran out.  
  • Sean O'Brien's injury has been confirmed as a hip flexor. Flared up on Friday.  
  • Sorry forgot President Michael D Higgins is doing the red carpet shuffle.  
  • Just Ireland's Call to go.  
  • Game time.
  • Teams both hitting some shields to get warm.  
  • Band gone, carpet gone. Ireland's Paddy Jackson will kickoff.  
  • Referee Jerome Garces asks Paddy Jackson how he is. He's good if you're wondering.  
  • Jackson straight down the middle taken by Israel Folau. Wallabies go wide. Earls with tackle. Murray penalty turnover. Ireland kick to corner. A statement of intent. Lineout 15 metres out.  
  • Slick off the top, Raingrose on cutback. Ireland hit it up. Great wriggling by Oayne, makes 15 metres after breaking the tackle. Stander with a big carry. TRimble comes off the blindisde wing into midfield and makes further inroads but it ends with a penalty to Ireland, 10 metres out. Ireland are going to the corner again.  
  • Lineout seven metres out is stolen. Ooops. Toner beaten by Mumm to the touch.  
  • Ireland go off the top at the next lineout work Trimble into space off blindside wing to get a three-on-two but he fires a long pass intended for Earls into touch.  
  • Great offload from Garry Ringrose in the next sequence of play. Murray chips to the corner but it runs over the dead ball line.  
  • Play will restart with a scrum about 12 metres outside the Aussie 22.  
  • Aussies hold it rock steady, using Haylett Petty off the blindside wing, they get outside the Irish defence through Folau and then Hodge but Payne gets back and Kearney forces the knock-on. Good defence.  
  • Gorgeous long pass from Payne off a very solid scrum. Earls cuts back in but Aussies offside at the ruck. Ireland kick penalty into Aussie 22. Six man lineout.  
  • Henderson wins. Ireland inch forward and then go wide, Kearney puts Trimble away. He is shut down by the defence. Kearney hit late and looks a bit out of it. He slides into Folau and catches a blow to the head. Ireland kick penalty to corner for the third time.  
  • Heaslip take, maul goes forward but Aussie hold it up and get a scrum turnover six metres from their line.  

    Kearney, who underwent a Head Injury Assessment during the week as a result of the game against the All Blacks has gone off for another one. He did run off but it's worying.  

  • Ireland get a nudge on in scrum. Murray tries to intercapt Genia's pass but it is a knock-on. Aussies play on and clear. Irish lineout. Henderson wins, Ringrose on cutback but Jackson's Garryowen too far.  
  • Folau beats Ringrose in a good contest in the air.  
  • Ireland all the possession and territory but no points after 14-minutes.  
  • Re-set scrum on the Wallaby 10-metre line. Murray warned about delaying the put-in.  
  • Wales lead South Africa 6-3
  • Aussies penalised again at the breakdown. Tackler not rolling away. Best points to the posts.

    17 mins: Jackson obliges with a super strike.

    Ireland 3 Australia 0

  • Zebo's dancing feet gets him a halfbreak but he's penalised for not releasing. Foley misses touch but Zebo can only advance the ball to about 30 meytres from the Irish line.  
  • Rory Best and Iain Henderson force a turnover by holding up an Aussie ball carrier.

    Rob Kearney isn't coming back on. He's failed his HIA.  

  • Ireland scrum 35 metres from their own line.  
  • Jackson with a lovely break on a wraparound but as he recaces into the Aussie half and passes to Trimble, the ball is turned over and the Aussies clear downfield. Earls fails to find touch or make the follow-up tackle and within seconds the visitors are back to the Irish 22 where they will have a scrum put-in.  
  • TMO comes in and asks Garces to have a look at a leg lift by Mumm on Furlong. Looks like a red card.  
  • YELLOW by dint of the conversation between Nigel Owens and Garces.  
  • 22 mins: Mumm yellow card. A little bit of a lucky boy there.  
  • TRY: Iain Henderson.
  • Toner takes a lineout, Ireland maul 20 metres and when they go, Trimble well tackled in midfield off the inside pass but Jackson attacks the line from the recycyle, Best first and the  Stander make metres totake play to the edge of the Aussie 22.
  • Zebo puts in a beautiful grubber that Earls snaps up. The Irish wing then steps inside brilliantly and offloads to the supporting Henderson who has the pace and strength to run 15 metres and carry a couple of tacklers over. Jackson addes the conversion.

    26 mins: Henderson try, Jackson conversion.

    Ireland 10 Australia 0

  • Folau gets away from Ringrose and Earls but his pass goes into touch. A let-off.  
  • Some of Jared Payne's long passing is breathtaking.  
  • Payne and Stander holds up Simmons in the tackle. Turnover scrum.  
  • There are still 11 and a half minutes to play in this half. Trimble down with a knock.  
  • Trimble is back up.  
  • Ireland with 65 carries to 22 so far.  
  • They have dominated possession and territory.  
  • Ringrose with those dancing feet. He makes a halfbreak. Zebo follows suit.  
  • Trimble has been forced to limp off. Joey Carbery is on. He may go to fullback with Zebo switching to wing.  
  • Carbery has played fullback for UCD, Clontarf and Ireland Under-20 briefly in the past.  
  • Earls switches to right wing, Zebo on the left wing and Carbery at fullback. Carbery played fullback in Blackrock too.  
  • Ireland win a scrum penalty. Super drive and control. Lineout on the Aussie 22.  
  • Ireland win the lineout, maul and once again Aussies are penalised. Eight penalties to one at this point. Ireland go to corner again. Mumm is back so the visitors are back to 15 players.  
  • Hint of blocking and the TMO is called in.  
  • TRY: It's given.  
  • Murray's pass goes astray as the maul is sacked but Ringrose, like a wil-o'the-wisp picks up the ball, cuts back against the grain, ducks down to snipe level and cuts through a gap to scamper over. Toner stands his ground and Arnold can't get to Ringrose. Jackson adds the conversion.

    34 mins: Ringrose try, Jackson conversion

    Ireland 17 Australia 0  

  • That's brilliant from the Aussies. Haylett Petty chip, Hodge gathers but Best makes a brilliant cover tackle inside the 22 and an Irish hand Ringrose or Carbery knocks on loose ball.  
  • Irekabd's defence has been marvellous they force a turnover and then Carbery's magic feet beats about three defenders to make 20 metres but Jackson's kick goes out on the full.
  • TRY: Haylett Petty. Wonderful back play and interplay from the Aussies with a bit of Hooper thrown in. They cut Ireland to shreds after winning the lineout and some great inter-passing Foley, Hooper, Folau sends Haylett Petty racing over. Foley converts with the last kick of the half.  

    40 mins: Haylett Petty try, Foley conversion.

    Ireland 17 Australia 7

  • Half-time: Ireland 17 Australia 7
  • Wow. Haven't stopped typing for the 40-minutes. Hugely engaging, entertaining match. Ireland score two tries, have 69 per cent possession, five turnovers an 8-1 penalty count in their favour and suffer a sucker punch on the half-time whistle. They lost Kearney (HIA) and Trimble (leg) during the half and have had to reshuffle the backline.  
  • Carbery is at fullback, Earls switched to the right wing, Zebo on the left wing. Australia lost flanker Mumm for 10 minutes to a yellow card that could have been red.  
  • Sam Leigh How many warnings for gold 7 to stay before a penalty
  • Apparently Trimble has an ankle problem.  
  • Ireland's performance for most of that half was truly oustanding in many respects and taken in the context of what the brutal physical legacy from last week, missing three of their best players in Robbie Henshaw, Johnny Sexton and Sean O'Brien.  
  • The Aussies try though just before half-time demonstrated how potent they can be. hat lovely switch pass inside to Hooper and Folau's hands were truly outstanding.  
  • They big question for Ireland is can they last the pace? They have fallen off a few tackles in that half and can't afford any lapses. The Aussies will have a bit of momentum coming back out. The Irish bench may have a big influence on the outcome.  
  • The scrum and lineout maul have been very effective weapons. Expect the Aussies to put up a few bombs to Carbery in the second half.  
  • Wales lead South Africa 20-6.
  • The next score in this match at the Aviva will be pivotal to the outcome. If the Aussies get it then it's game on again.  
  • The teams are back out. The last 40-minutes of the November test series.  
  • Kane Douglas is on for Rory Arnold. The one time Leinster player will give his team more work-rate and mobility over the gargantaun Arnold.  
  • Kieran Marmion on for Payne.  
  • Ireland have been ridiculously unlucky with injury. Three gone before the match another three in the first half.  
  • Right the backline reshuffle is as follows. Earls to centre, Marmion on right wing.  
  • Marmion saves a certain try by smashing into Pocock and forcing a forward pass to Speight.  
  • That's beautifully done in terms of the exit strategy from their 22. Ringrose takes it up and Murray finds touch.  
  • Ominous from the Aussies.  
  • They're winning all the collisions, getting quick ball and are now eight metres from the Irish line.  
  • TRY: Kuridrani
  • That's been coming. Forwards hitting it up and then slick hands with Folau giving his centre the scoring pass in the corner. Aussies' have been varying the point of attack quite superbly and this could be a long half for Ireland.  
  • 46 mins: Kuridrani try, Foley conversion.  

    Foley converts from the touchline.

    Ireland 17 Australia 14

  • Furlong surges, Aussies offside again. Jackson points at the posts.  

    Jackson makes no mistake from 23 metres.

    49 mins: Jackson penalty.

    Ireland 20 Australia 14

  • This could be like like the Alamo from an Irish perspective and we all know how that ended.  
  • Folau with two men outside eight metres from the Irish line takes too long to pass and when he does it goes to ground and Ireland get a scrum.  
  • The scrum goes down. Re-set.  
  • If Australia lose this and it's unlikely based on the opening12 minutes of the second half, Folau will be roasted for butchering a certain try.  
  • Stunning from van der Flier to turn over possession by stripping Genia but Jackson's kick blocked down. Ireland win back possession and then Zebo kicks out on the full.  
  • Poor cross-kick from Foley which Zebo takes comfortably. Unfortunately Irish wing slices kick slightly.  
  • Speith off for a HIA Naivalu on.  

    55 mins: Ultan Dillane on for try scorer Henderson, The Ulsterman had a super game.  

  • TRY: Kuridrani, his second. Ireland sliced and diced again. Kuridrani held his depth as Aussies punched up in midfield and then went out the back, the centre accelerating onto the ball and through a gap to run 20 metres and score. He takes it close to the posts.  
  • 57 mins: Kuridrani try, Foley conversion.

    Ireland 20 Australia 21

  • Wonderful handling and running from the Aussies, they've gone from their 22 to Ireland's in a heartbeat.  
  • Heaslip penalised for offside but to be honest that's a let-off. Aussies worked the pace on the outside, putting Haylett Paetty away and if they had been a tad more accurate would have finished off a wonderful, flowing attack with a try. This could get very ugly, very quickly for an Ireland side that are litterally out on their feet.  
  • 60 mins: Foley penalty.

    Ireland 21 Australia 24

  • 61 mins: Cian Healy and Peter O'Mahony on for McGrath and Heaslip.  
  • Zebo brilliant tackle on Hodge. Ireland have a lineout on the Aussie 22.  
  • High tackle and neck roll by Mumm. Lucky, lucky boy. First half yellow and now that.  
  • Ireland have a lineout eight metres out, which they win and the maul creeps forward.  
  • Simply stunning rugby from Ireland.
  • O'Mahony and Furlong with huge carries. Then Ireland worked the short side and Zebo hot Earls to run in. Stander might have given a pass earlier but took contact. Ireland recycled and finished ruthlessly. Jackson kicks a wonderful conversion.  

    67 mins: Earls try, Jackson conversion.

    Ireland 27 Australia 24

  • Aussies back on the attack.  
  • Ominous again
  • Aussies replaced their front row about a minute ago. Marmion with another brilliant last ditch intervention.  
  • Wonderful character from the Irish side.  
  • They must be dying physically but to a man they have given it everything. The covering, chasing and harrying is exceptional; albeit worrying as the Wallabies are dominating territory and possession.  
  • Murray brilliant relieving kick to the halfway line. Ringrose again set up the ruck after another superb scrum. Finlay Bealham on for Furlong. The Wexford man has been wonderful again.  
  • Ireland offside on the halfway line.  
  • There are nine minutes left.  
  • Santa Ana's forces are gathering again outside the Alamo.  
  • Ringrose and van der Flier force a turnover. Ref calls maul as they wrap Kuridrani. Ireland scrum 15 metres from their own line.  
  • Re-set scrum.  
  • There are seven minutes left.  
  • Not good for the fact any Irish supporter at the moment.  
  • There are six minutes left
  • Murray puts the ball in and scrum goes down.  
  • Ireland put-in.  
  • There will be five minutes left when the ball is put for a third time. Ireland will need to shift this one away.  
  • Aussies penalised for not rolling away after Stander, now playing eight, picked and went. Irish scrum was under pressure there.  
  • Sean McMahon penalised.

    Sean Cronin on for Rory Best who gets a standing ovation.  

  • That was spine tingling, a genuine outpouring of love and respect for the Irish captain.  
  • Ringrose with a sensational turnover. Ireland have a lineout on their 10 metre line.

    THERE are two and a half minutes left. Holy God. This is excruciating.  

  • Cronin's first throw is tapped back. Can Ireland hang onto the ball?
  • No they'll kick. Two minutes left and the Aussies have the ball.  
  • Tip tackle on Toner after a great Irish turnover.  
  • Foley yellow card.
  • That was surreal the five foot 10 inch Foley tip tackling the six foot 11 inch Toner. They are 40 second left and Ireland have a lineout.  
  • The lineout is 24 metres from the Aussie line.  
  • van der Flier takes, Ireland mauls. 30 second left.  
  • Ireland maul forward. Fields of Athenry. Aussie hold maul up. Scrum put-in. Clock turns red.  
  • The Aussies can fire one final shot from their own 22 metre line.  
  • Scrum.
  • Re-set.  
  • And breathe.  
  • The scrum is on the 22 metre line and the Aussies have the ntire pitch to go wide.  
  • Ireland win a scrum penalty.  
  • WHAT A WIN.  
  • FULLTIME: Ireland 27 Australia 24
  • Josh van der Flier named man of the match. He was outstanding but then so were Ireland to a man.  
  • Ireland become the first Northern Hemisphere team to beat South Africa, New Zealand and Australia in a season since England did it in 2003.  
  • That was one of the truly great Ireland wins of any era.  
  • Australia looked nailed on winners when they went 24-20 but this Irish team displayed tremendous heart, courage and it must be said ability to find a way to go and win the match.  
  • Ireland lost Sean O'Brien before the match, three players, Kearney, Trimble and Payne by the time the teams returned for the second half, had a scrumhalf Kieran Marmion on the wing, reshuffled the backline four times and still never bowed the head. It was a magnificent win.  
  • Peter Coghlan What a match! Thanks John for providing great commentary again, our sole, reliable link to Irish rugby here in the backwaters of southern England. Might as well be on the dark side of the moon....
  • So many young players stepped up today. Carbery, Ringrose, van der Flier in particular, Marmion did an amazing job on the wing with two massive tackling interventions; Furlong was brilliant again. The bench made a massive impact in a positive way and the team was wonderfully led by Rory Best.  
  • So many times in the past an Ireland team would have lost this match but not today and those players earned it. You can't teach, buy or coach character.  
  • In fairness to Australia they played some stunning rugby and if a tad more accurate in the green zone could have had at least three more tries. They too showed the mettle of a side that came here with wins over Wales, Scotland and France and were hoping to complete the fourth leg of a Grand Slam. They came within millimetres iof successfully continuing that quest.  
  • They gave Ireland a 17-point start, scored 24 to three and then were felled by an Ireland eam that had the courage to keep playing their rugby.  
  • That victory was so important for Ireland. It meant that the team and management can go forward into the Six Nations on a positive footing. It backs up the performance in Chicago and shows that there is depth in this squad even when several marquee names are missing.  
  • Thank you for your company. Gerry Thornley's match report will be dropping in shortly. Gavin Cummiskey will also have his player ratings. I know that because they're sitting either side of me. It's been a memorable afternoon; pulsating, entertaining, topsy turvy, mad, hotch potch of the sublime and the frustrating.  
  • Time to scoot off and interview some happy Irish players. Really appreciate your input and comments.