Women's RWC: Ireland v Australia

Hosts Ireland get their tournament underway on a scorching day at UCD

John O'Sullivan Wed, Aug 9
LIVE: Women's RWC: Ireland v Australia

Sort by:

  • Latest first
  • Oldest first
  • This event has now ended
  • Hello and welcome to the Women's Rugby World Cup and more specifically the opening game for the host nation, Ireland, who take on Australia at the Belfield Bowl. John O'Sullivan here at Belfield and I'll take you through tonight's Pool C match.  

    The game is a sell-out, all the 3,500 tickets long since snapped up. It's a beautiful evening, perfect conditions for Tom Tierney's side as they try and negotiate their way through a tough pool.    

  • The captains' coin toss, Ireland's Dr Claire Molloy and Australia's Shannon Parry.  
  • I've decided to save provide you with the teams visually.  
  • Earlier in the day there were victories for England, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. France and Japan meet in Ireland's pool and that match kicks off in the Billings stadium at 7.45pm.  
  • There is plenty of support for Ireland. This one has got about 30,000 retweets. I wonder why?  
  • There are about 10 minutes to kickoff.  
  • Ireland's World Cup record.

    1994 (seventh), 1998 (10th) 2002 (14th), 2006 (eighth), 2010 (seventh), 2014 (fourth).  

  • Some faces in the crowd, Ireland's President Michael D Higgins and Leinster, Ireland and Lions flanker Sean O'Brien.  
  • Time to read Gavin Cummiskey's preview? Of course you do. Here it is.
  • Here come the teams, walking down the steps, past the World Cup trophy.  
  • It's anthems time.
  • Advance Australia Fair followed by Ireland's Call.  
  • Referee Tim Baker gets the game underway.  
  • Norah Stapleton kicks long and Australia run it back but a mix-up in midfield hands Ireland a scrum five mtres inside the Walleroos half.  
  • Good scrum and blindside winger Alison Miller takes it up but when the ball is moved wide Eimear Considine slightly overruns Hannah Tyrell's pass and knocks on as a result.  
  • Ireland concede a scrum penalty on the halfway line.  
  • The home side penalised for driving in on the angle.  
  • Australia are awarded a scrum from the lineout and the referee has a quick word with Irish loosehead Lindsay Peat about staying straight.  
  • Australia playing with width and tempo, varying the point of attack and then after disciplined defence they kick the ball away but have a lineout after Tyrrell's clearance.  
  • Ireland with a scrum on their 22.  
  • Ireland scrumhalf Larissa Muldoon kicks out on the full and the Aussies will have a lineout on the home side's 22.  
  • It's all Australia so far, territory and possession.  
  • Brilliant scrum from Ireland and they win a penalty, the Walleroos, buckling. Stapleton misses touch and Ireland are back in their 22, albeit in possession.  
  • Good from Ireland in terms of continuity and they win a penalty when Peat is tackled high.  
  • Ireland have a lineout on the Aussie 22.  
  • Heather O'Brien wins, Ireland hammer around the fringes, it's very effective but then having gone wide Stapleton fires a ball in Miller's direction that have the winger little chance.  
  • Maz Reilly takes the lineout athletically having appeared to have been taken out in the air but it looks like Ailis Egan dropped her rather than any malign interference.  
  • Play on, Aussie scrum following Irish knock-on.  
  • There are 16 minutes gone.  
  • Ireland coach Joe Schmidt and assistant coach Simon Easterby are in the crowd.  
  • Great lineout maul from Ireland, they're two metres out.  
  • TRY: Larissa Muldoon.
  • That's really sharp from the scrumhalf after some great carrying from Egan and Jenny Murphy. Stapleton adds the conversion.

    20 mins: Ireland 7 Australia 0

  • Australia will be disappointed having dominated much of that opening quarter but Ireland were resilient in defence and a couple of penalties got them down the pitch to launch what is a very effective lineout maul.  
  • Ireland concede a penalty at a ruck for not rolling away and the Aussies turn down a shot at the posts from about 28-metres to go to the corner. The visitors turn over possession.
  • Peat the victim of a second high tackle in the match. Ireland will have a penalty about 10 metres outside their 22.  
  • Territory is so important because most teams struggle to kick the ball more than 25-30 metres.  
  • TRY: Mahalia Murphy
  • Australia's right wing shows her Sevens pedigree with a wonderful finish after Australia took a quick lineout on the Irish 22 and moved the ball wide with Samantha Treherne giving the scoring pass. Treherne unlucky with the conversion as the ball falls on her run-up.
  • 29 mins: Ireland 7 Australia 5
  • Great break by Aussie hooker Cheyenne Campbell but Tyrrell and Jenny Murphy put in two huge tackles.  
  • Ireland concede another breakdown penalty but Australia can only advance about 10 metres from the kick.  
  • Ireland have a dominant scrum and lineout maul, they have turned the Aussies over in three lineouts but unless they increase the line speed in defence the visitors are going to hurt them with clever lines of running and an ability to offload through the tackle.  
  • Australia batter away and take play up to about 10-metres from the Irish line but Maz Reilly and Peat hold up Hilisha Samoa and force a scrum turnover.  
  • Reilly is down injured.  
  • Ireland win a penalty as the Aussies penalised for not rolling away and then the visitors concede another for coming in the side at a ruck.  
  • HALF-TIME: Ireland 7 Australia 5
  • Australia will be slightly miffed to be behind. They've had the better of the territory and possession stats but despite several forays into the Irish 22 have only managed the one try.  
  • Ireland's defence has been good, their lineout maul excellent, almost as effective and the pick and go on the fringes productive BUT they've been a little predictable in possession, and the timing of the passes has been early without really drawing defenders.  
  • The Australian pack is getting more traction at the breakdown and in carrying than many would have suspected and their back play is definitely more nuanced. Ireland's line speed in defence needs to be sharper.  

    The absence of a kicking game for either side means the defending team can push up. There is space in behind but neither team has exploited it.  

  • We're back under way. Good aggressive tackle by Sene Naoupu forces a handling error.  
  • Having been critical of a lacking of kicking game in the first half that was an absolute doozy from Stapleton forcing Australia back to within five metres of their line.  
  • Australian fullback Samantha Treheme did superbly to take contact and retain possession.  
  • 46 mins: Australia looking dangerous again, Ireland getting a little narrow in defence.  
  • 47 mins: The home side win a scrum turnover but unfortunately Jenny Murphy is limping off. She's been superb in defence. Katie Fitzhenry comes on.  
  • Poor communication there from Ireland and they are penalised for crossing. Reilly steals another lineout, Australia have now lost four.  
  • 50 mins: Considine spills ball following a thumping hit.  
  • 51 mins: Sophie Spence and Ciara O'Connor on for Fitzpatrick and Egan.  
  • Ireland win a scrum after a knock on from Barker and Peat exhorts the crowd.  
  • Ireland are keeping possession but they have made no inroads territorially and after a dozen recycles O'Connor penalised for not releasing in the tackle.  
  • At the risk of repetition, Australia are giving Ireland space on the outside but the lack of accuracy and snap in the passing, coupled with some poor decisions means that the home side can't get the ball to the wider channels.  
  • TRY: Parry.  
  • Ireland gets a taste of their own medicine, The Aussies drive a lineout and then pick and jam around the fringes, the speed of the ruck ball alllowing them to rack up the metres and eventually culimates in a try from the Walleroos captain Parry. A one-yard plunge.  
  • Treheme misses the relatively easy conversion.

    57 mins: Ireland 7 Australia 10

  • 57 mins: Ciara Griffin for O'Brien.  
  • 60 mins: That's so much better from Ireland, width first and then some great carries from Spence, the outstanding Peat, and the home sde have a scrum six metres from the Australian line.  
  • TRY: Griffin.  
  • Spence and Peat were superb again and then Griffin shows her power to force her way past two Australian defenders. Stapleton taps over the conversion.

    62 mins: Ireland 14 Australia 10

  • Crowd is well and truly involved and Ireland have been energised. Aussies looking tired.  
  • 64 mins: Australia concede a penalty and Ireland are back in the visiting 22.  
  • Australia lose a fifth lineout and Ireland get a scrum 15 metres from the Walleroos line.  
  • Australia have made just one change in a team that's flagging physically which may indicate a lack of depth.  
  • Ireland must control the ball and be patient. They can win the game from this position.  
  • Griffin has been superb since her introduction.  
  • Relentless from Ireland, pick and jam, hard carrying, and Spence reaches out. Referee Baker asks the TMO 'is there any reason why I can't award the try?' The answer is NO, so it's a try.

  • TRY: Spence.  
  • 71 mins: Ireland 19 Australia 10
  • TRY: Samoa
  • 73 mins: Samoa with two corruscating carries the second of which leads to a try. Ashleigh Hewson, I think, kicked the conversion.  
  • 73 mins: Ireland 19 Australia 17
  • That try came out of nowhere, not that it matters, it's squeaky bum time.  
  • Australia have a penalty on the halfway line.  
  • Australia on attack, Ireland steal the ball, Ireland make a handling error and then concede the penalty.  
  • Australia lose their sixth lineout.  
  • Ireland's Maz Reilly is the player of the match. Thoroughly deserved although Peat ran her close.  
  • Reilly stole five of the six Australian throws. That's been crucial.  
  • 78 mins: Ireland have a lineout on the halfway line.  
  • Molloy wins it.  
  • The maul rumbles forward.  
  • 60 seconds.  
  • 30 seconds.  
  • Ireland are going to win.  
  • 10 seconds.  
  • Stapleton kicks it into the stand.

    FULL-TIME: Ireland 19 Australia 17

  • A terrific contest. Ireland coach Tom Tierney made some crucial calls in the second half and none better than his timing of the replacements, specifically Ciara Griffin and Sophie Spence both of whom scored tries.  
  • Ireland captain Claire Molloy: "That was a tough match. I am really proud of the grit the girls showed. It's an exciting start to the tournament. It was down to the resilience and the resolve.  
  • Lovely shot of the injured Niamh Briggs, screaming and fighting back at the tears, unsuccessfully at the final whistle.  
  • ReFur Madness Green is the new black
  • Credit to Shannon Parry, the Australia captain who refused to blame the two missed conversions that ultimately denied them victory. They were relatively straightforward.  
  • The aesthetics of Ireland's performance won't matter too much initially because victory was the most important issue at stake. They will have to improve, particularly their passing, the appreciation of space on the pitch and in identifying when their opposition gets narrow in defence.

    BUT they should also reflect on the guts and character to eke out that win. Molloy, Peat, Moloney, Reilly stood out up front while Griffin and Spence made telling contrbutions off the bench. Miller remains a class act while the tackling of the centres Murphy and Naoupu forced crucial turnovers. The back play will have to improve going forward.    

  • Next up for Ireland is a game against Japan on Sunday, currently trailing France 39-7 with about half an hour to go.  
  • Maz Reilly: "The Ireland Women's team are nothing if not entertaining when we play. We made hard work of it."


  • Johnny Watterson and Gavin Cummiskey will be offering their thoughts on the game shortly. Thank you for your company and comments. They say a good start is half the battle and that result gets Ireland's World Cup off on a great footing.