Melbourne - Flyhalf
Johnny Sexton starred as Six Nations champions Ireland beat the
Wallabies 26-21 on Saturday to end a 39-year drought in Australia and
take their three-Test series into a decider.
Sexton, recalled after sitting out last week's defeat in Brisbane,
proved the difference with two conversions and four penalties as Ireland
won their first Test in Australia since 1979.
The Irish, stung 18-9 a week ago, made eight team changes and
frustrated the Australians into errors to take the series to a decider
in Sydney next week.
The Wallabies scored three tries to two but the world number
two-ranked Irish controlled the ball at the breakdown and profited from
Sexton controlled the game for Ireland in his recall after making way for understudy Joey Carbery in Brisbane last week.
"It felt like we had a lot of the ball and obviously it's a lot
easier with the ball, but at other times we needed to be better with our
discipline," Sexton said.
"It's very pleasing to get a win. It's a hard place to win in Australia, so it's all down to next week now."
Skipper Michael Hooper said it was a frustrating Test match for the Wallabies.
"We gave away a lot of penalties, the Irish capitalised on that. I
thought they played a good pressure game and got the better of us
tonight," Hooper said.
The home side paid dearly for their defeat with scrumhalf Will Genia
suffering a suspected broken arm and lock Adam Coleman a possible
Ireland led 16-14 at half-time
and clinched the Test with a charging try from front-rower Tadhg
Furlong - his first for Ireland - in the 54th minute.
The Australians fought back with a late converted try to Taniela Tupou, but the Irish defence held firm to close out the win.
The Wallabies got off to a flying start when Bernard Foley's inside
ball put Kurtley Beale into a gap and the inside-centre beat two Irish
tackles to score under the crossbar in the second minute.
But Ireland took quick advantage of winger Marika Koroibete's yellow
card for a lifting tackle when Conor Murray put wing Andrew Conway over
in the right-hand corner to level the scores in the seventh minute.
Sexton kicked the Irish to a 13-7 lead with two penalties from Australian indiscretions before Koroibete returned to the field.
Sexton landed another penalty for a deliberate knockdown by Caleb Timu, with Ireland dominating territory and possession.
But the Wallabies were awarded a penalty try when a rolling maul was
illegally brought down and Cian Healy was yellow-carded, reducing
Ireland to 14 men.
The Wallabies suffered a blow when Genia went off late in the first half, to be replaced by Nick Phipps.
Ireland lost prop Healy with a knee injury shortly after the break,
and wing Keith Earls lost the ball over the try-line as a scoring
opportunity went begging.
But Furlong's first Test try and a Sexton conversion pushed the Irish
out to a 23-14 lead, which Sexton extended with a penalty in the 66th
There was a late flurry by the Wallabies, with Tupou scoring after
Irish replacement front-rower Jack McGrath received a yellow card for a
deliberate knock down.
Ireland were on an unbeaten run of 12 internationals until last week,
but they have now ended a losing streak of 11 straight Tests against
the Wallabies in Australia.
Tries: Beale, Penalty try, Tupou
Conversions: Foley 2
Tries: Conway, Furlong
Conversions: Sexton 2
Penalties: Sexton 4
15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 David Pocock, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Reece Hodge
15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Dan Leavy, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Cian Healy
Substitutes: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour