Brisbane - Wallabies
talisman David Pocock made a brilliant return from sabbatical when he
scored a late, match-clinching try to give Australia an 18-9 win over
Ireland on Saturday.
The former captain, playing his first Test in 18 months, crashed over
from two metres out in the 72nd minute to give Australia a decisive,
It capped a typically influential performance for the flank, who
performed charity and educational work during his time out and played
himself to a standstill during a tight match against the Six Nations
Playing on the blindside, Pocock was at his ball-poaching best as he continually frustrated the Irish ruck ball.
Ireland had their chances and will consider themselves unlucky to
lose, with CJ Stander held up over the line early in the second half and
replacement scrumhalf Kieran Marmion denied by the television match
official in the final minute.
But the Wallabies deserved the victory and will go into the second
Test in Melbourne full of confidence after a successful start to their
The Wallabies built the win on the back of a superb defensive effort, restricting the visitors to three penalty goals.
In a brutal start to the match, the Wallabies hammered Ireland with some massive tackles.
Lock Adam Coleman was prominent in defence early, poleaxing a number
of Irish players, while centres Samu Kerevi and Kurtley Beale both put
jarring hits on their opposite numbers.
Bernard Foley and Joey Carbery traded early penalties before the
Irish began to assert some dominance with better possession and
They were rewarded with a second Carbery three-pointer when Wallabies captain Michael Hooper was penalised at the breakdown.
The Wallabies spun the ball wide at every opportunity to try to beat
the Irish rush defence, and were almost rewarded when giant winger
Marika Koroibete was given space and set sail for the corner - only for
Jacob Stockdale to appear from nowhere and put him into touch with a
superb covering tackle.
Ireland looked set to take the narrow 6-3 lead into the break until
Foley found winger Dane Haylett-Petty in space with another long pass.
Haylett-Petty straightened the attack and fed Kerevi, who was pulled down metres from the line.
But from quick ruck ball, Will Genia popped a pass to Foley, who
dived over in the corner to give the home side an 8-6 lead at half-time.
Ireland started the second half brightly and were unlucky not to
score when Stander was held up over the line after a 40-metre break.
But the visitors hit the front soon after when Carbery kicked his third penalty following a ruck infringement from Pocock.
Australia refused to give in and gradually worked their way back into the game.
Israel Folau thought he had scored midway through the half, only for
the referee to reverse the decision when Coleman was found to have
tackled a man without the ball.
But the home side had the ascendancy and went ahead with a second
Foley penalty before Pocock's late heroics as Australia swarmed
following a tap penalty.
Tries: Bernard Foley, David Pocock
Penalties: Foley (2)
Penalties: Joey Carbery (3)