Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt says he felt Ireland didn’t get the rub of the green from the match officials in the 18-9 defeat to Australia in Brisbane, but praised the clinical nature of the Wallabies.
In front of a crowd of 46,273 spectators with green smattered all around the Suncorp Stadium, Ireland’s record of 12 successive victories was brought to a halt on a balmy, dewey night on the east coast.
Tries from Bernard Foley and David Pocock saw the hosts draw first blood in the series, with the visitors unable to breach the green and gold defence.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport’s Michael Corcoran post-match, Schmidt felt that referee Marius van der Westhuizen was lenient at times, though admitted that the Wallabies too came out the wrong side of the officials' decision-making.
"We just expect to try to be able to play within the rules and do the best we can. They have some super athletes and took advantage of some opportunities that they had," he said.
CJ Stander looked to have gone over the try line early in the second half, but the TMO didn’t see enough evidence to suggest the Munster backrower had made enough downward pressure on the ball.
"I think if they asked a second question, it looked to me like he would have got the benefit of the doubt, but they couldn’t see a clear grounding because of the question they asked. That’s how fine the margins are.
"The Wallabies missed out on one as well, so maybe its swings and roundabouts.
"It’s difficult contain players when they can clearly see a hand on the ball and they lose it forward and don’t get the try they are looking for. It’s very frustrating for them [Irish players]. I understand their frustrations, but I also admire the way the Wallabies managed to do it."
Jordi Murphy admitted that it was far from the perfect performance, especially from a defensive standpoint.
"We need to be more clinical. We weren’t quite that today. Our defence at times wasn’t good enough and we were punished by a good side.
"It’s all to play for. It’s disappointing obviously, we look to win every game, but we have two chances to put it right and it starts next week."
Schmidt can see both sides improving ahead of the second test next week in Melbourne.
"There were a few rusty areas for us. The scrum was very difficult with the angle and lea, but we have to be able to solve that ourselves."
Australia’s Michael Hooper said it was a satisfying day’s work for Michael Cheika’s side in what was an absorbing contest.
"We’re really pleased with that," he told RTÉ Sport.
"The Irish threw a lot at us, particularly in the first half and kept the pressure on us, but I’m glad the way we managed that.
"Test matches are called that for a reason. They are hard to win, but it’s nice to get that confidence.
"We are lucky we have rolled in from Super Rugby and the boys are rolling, but we know we will see some new things from Ireland next week, and hopefully the same from us."