Excite

Ireland 15 Australia 6

Ireland pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Rugby World Cup history when they beat Australia 15-6 in their Pool C match in Auckland this morning.

As reigning Tri-Nations champions the Wallabies were considered one of the favourites to lift the Webb Ellis trophy before the tournament started. However, they were completely outplayed and out-muscled this morning by an inspired Irish team.

Ireland's form heading into the World Cup had been dreadful and no one appeared to give them a hope against Australia following their laboured victory over the USA last weekend.

However, the Irish forward pack laid the platform for a famous victory. Sean O'Brien and Stephen Ferris were inspired both in defence and attack but it was in the tight five that Ireland asserted their dominance.

Cian Healy, Rory Best and Mike Ross dismantled the Australian front row while Ireland's second-row partnership of Paul O'Connell and Donncha O'Callaghan rolled back the years to produce an outstanding defensive performance.

Despite producing no tries the match was anything but dull and it was a testament to Ireland's defensive effort that Australia's scoring was limited to two first-half penalties from James O'Connor.

Jonny Sexton scored three penalties and a drop goal before veteran fly-half Ronan O'Gara slotted two more three-pointers late in the second half to secure an Irish victory.

Ireland winger Tommy Bowe came close to scoring the game's only try following an interception from a loose Quade Cooper pass with just minutes left on the clock but was dragged down short of the line by O'Connor.

The result now has the potential to blow the World Cup quarter finals wide open. Australia were expected to top their pool and meet either Wales or Western Samoa in the next round. But if Ireland can beat Italy in two-weeks time Australia may have to face a revitalised South Africa.

Australia: Beale, O'Connor, A Fainga'a (Mitchell 73), McCabe, Ashley-Cooper; Cooper, Genia; Kepu, Polota-Nau, Alexander (Slipper 62), Vickerman (Simmons 62), Horwill (capt), Elsom (Palu 72), McCalman, Samo (Higginbotham 73). Pens: O'Connor (2)

Ireland: Kearney (Trimble 73), Bowe, O'Driscoll (capt), D'Arcy, Earls; Sexton, Reddan (Murray 57); Healy, Best, Ross (Court 76), O'Callaghan, O'Connell, Ferris, O'Brien, Heaslip. Pens: Sexton (2), O'Gara (2). Drop goal: Sexton

United Kingdom - Excite Network Copyright ©1995 - 2017