In the big match at Lansdowne Road Australia were too strong for Ireland this afternoon and pulled away in the second half to win 23 - 3. In extremely competitive game, both sides tore into each other from the outset, and scoring opportunities were few and far between in the opening 40 plus minutes. It was only 6 - 0 at that stage after a number of missed penalty goal attempts - most notably from Australian full-back Matt Burke. Captain and lock John Eales took over the duties at that stage and missed his first kick too. Ireland had a couple of kicks from difficult positions and out-half David Humphreys couldn't capitalise.
The Australians had a strong wind though in that first half so Ireland were hopeful going out for the second half. It was the Australians however, who upped the pace and it was only a matter of time before they broke through the brave Irish defence. Firstly on 44 minutes Matt Burke - reinstated - kicked a further penalty. Then there was a bit of a scuffle as the ever eager Trevor Brennan got involved with Australian No.8 Toutai Kefu. Nothing came of it however, and the Australians picked up where they left off. Ireland were feeding off scraps at this stage and some very poor tactical kicking kept giving the ball away. Australia then had a line out within five meters of the Irish line and what could have been seven for Australia was denied them when Jason Little a yard from the line lost forward. Keith Wood, always in the right place picked up and, with a side step worthy of any three-quarters, passed by two Australians and kicked long down the field. Justin Bishop, brave in the tackle all day, was on to it and next thing Ireland had a penalty and Humphreys kicked his sides first score.
It all started to slip away on 56 minutes when the Australians decided for once to put it through the hands and Horan went round Humphreys and throiugh the gap for the first try. From there on in Australia were never in danger and controlled the game in tight. Another piece of straight forward passing involving Horan again, Joe Roff and right winger Ben Tune saw Tune touch down in the right corner for Australias second try. Ireland battled away but the closest they got to scoring was in the dying seconds when Brian O'Driscoll chased an Eric Elwood kick but unusually knocked on. It was that sort of day where both sides made a lot of handling errors and much possession was kicked away. Australia dominated the line out, winning on both their own and Irish throws. The Irish now will have to regroup and try to cut down on errors if they are to beat Romania next Friday and progress to the quarter final play-offs.
Australia 23: (Tries: Tim Horan, Ben Tune; Conv: Matthew Burke 2; Pens: Matthew Burke 2, John Eales)
Ireland 3: (Pens:David Humphries)