It’s becoming an all-too-familiar story for Wallabies supporters: the team have fallen by just three points in recent moments, with poor discipline and injuries costing Australia defeat to Ireland on Sunday morning.
Dave Rennie’s men had most of the possession during the match, but fell 13-10 to the world number one; who were playing in front of over 50,000 patriarchal Irish fans at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Down by three points with just two minutes remaining, Australia had a chance to level the score with a penalty kick, but opted to go for it and was later penalized, ending their chances.
The Test resembled a game of chess, as both sides took a fascinating and methodical approach to the game, but in the end, discipline (or lack thereof) and injury weighed heavily on the Wallabies’ fortunes.
A familiar scene: The Wallabies stars can’t believe they missed another close call on Sunday against Ireland in Dublin
Star prop Taniela Tupou was stretchered off with what appeared to be a serious leg injury, while Hunter Paisami (medial knee ligament), Dave Porecki (head blow), Rob Valentini (foot) and Andrew Kellaway (foot) failed to finish the match. .
Despite the result sending Australia to its third successive defeat, Rennie said he was proud of the way his team finished another injury-marred game.
‘It was a tough match. The boys showed a lot of character to stay in the fight; but we’re gutted,’ he said on the Stan Sport broadcast after the game.
“We had a lot of injuries and we lost players at the beginning and we had to play for a while with 13… we had a lot of ball, but thanks to the Irish: they defended very well.”
Of course, the blame for the loss against a well-trained Ireland team cannot lie with injuries, as usual, it is the Wallabies’ lack of discipline and attention to detail, often at the most crucial moments, which it cost the team.
In particular, a yellow card to Folau Fainga’a for an unnecessary penalty cost the team dearly.
Folau Fainga’a receives a yellow card for an unnecessary ‘neck twist’ just before half-time
Late in the first half, a ‘baffling’ decision by Fainga’a to remove an Irish player, as the ball was passed 20m back to take a shot, resulted in the hooker being shown a yellow card.
It meant Australia were forced to play with 13 men and uncontested scrums for several minutes as Porecki was already out and unable to return. Fainga’a was criticized by former Wallabies lock Justin Harrison in a scathing rebuke.
“He lacks the poise and maturity of a Test player,” a puzzled Harrison said as referee Ben O’Keefe carried Fainga’a off the field three minutes before half time.
A devastated-looking Dave Rennie cuts a solemn figure after another Wallabies loss on Sunday.
It was just another ‘neck roll’ penalty in a game plagued with calls, many of which Harrison and his former Wallabies star Tim Horan thought were unnecessary.
Such was the rate of infringements that O’Keefe was heard to say there was “constant foul play” just 30 minutes into the first half when he warned both captains.
Wallabies scrum-half Nic White looked to have opened the scoring when he leaped through a hole in the defense and dove to score just three minutes into the game, but the try was canceled out by TMO with a questionable ‘neck twist’. ‘ from Porecki in the breakdown.
Mark Nawaqanitawase was brilliant for the Wallabies and was a constant threat in attack.
A 21-phase march saw the Wallabies advance to within 10 meters of their try line at mid-half, but once again a neck twist ended their chances, and both Harrison and on-field captain James Slipper noted how the Irish players were slowing down smartly. the breakdown.
Led by a last-minute injury replacement, Jack Crowley was mightily impressive for the men in green who replaced Johnny Sexton, with the rookie putting in a real shot to put Ireland ahead 3-0 before his Australian counterpart equalized the odds. scores at minute 55.
The arm-wrestling battle continued, with neither side giving an inch apart from 12 penalties being awarded by each side.
The deadlock was finally broken 14 minutes before the full-time siren sounded with Ireland center Bundee Aki crossing on the back of, surprise, surprise, another unnecessary Wallabies penalty with Crowley adding the extras with all the poise of a seasoned veteran.
The Wallabies returned serve just minutes later, with a runaway Will Skelton driving five defenders towards the test line before hands-off saw Jordan Petaia cross over the side and Foley tying the scores with a successful conversion.
Bundee Aki, who scored a try for Ireland, celebrates his team’s impressive victory
Jordan Petaia (left) scores a try for Australia, leveling the scores with just minutes to go
The scores were even, and it felt like deja vu.
The Wallabies had all the momentum, all the possession (409 meters of 63 runs against 39/227) and they were beginning to have an easier time breaking the line.
It’s enough to make even the most ardent Wallabies fans sink in the stomach.
Sure enough, the Wallabies scrum, which had been rock solid for the previous 75 minutes, conceded their first penalty of the game, with replacement fly-half Ross Byrne calmly scoring the goal.
The Wallabies threw everything at the Wolfhounds in the dying minutes, but two basic mistakes with the potential win in sight ended their chances and sent the team into another loss that ended with the question, ‘What if?’
Powerhouse Wallabies lock Will Skelton leaves several defenders in his wake as he runs on Sunday morning.
Mark Nawaqanitawase, Tom Wright and Petaia were brilliant in the back line, looking to finally bring some much-needed cohesion to the side; while Skelton and Valetini did a powerhouse of work on the forwards.
Former Brumbies winger Mack Hansen got the last laugh with a strong performance, while Crowley and Caelan Doris were two of Ireland’s best.
A heartbreaking loss, of course, but Harrison had no doubt that the team had regained some pride in their jersey after last weekend’s fiendish defeat to Ireland.
A dejected Nick Frost looks to the sky after Australia topple Ireland in Dublin on Sunday morning (AEDT)
‘There were a lot of things I liked about the performance… I thought physically they (Australia) were really on target tonight; Skelton was huge and Mark Nawaqanitawase looked so comfortable and had possession,” Wallabies legend Drew Mitchell said on the broadcast.
‘But there was one thing I didn’t like and it was the marker.
“I feel like the story once again is the Wallabies’ lack of discipline… once again we’re talking about thin margins, lack of discipline, focus and concentration… repeat violations that turned out to be crucial,” Mitchell said. .
Slipper admitted that while he was proud of the determination the team showed, it was devastating not to once again capitalize on the big moments.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult game. I am devastated by the way it ended,” he said after the match.
‘We had a chance to win the game, but test matches are won in the big moments and at the end of the day we lost them.
“However, we wanted to respond after last week’s loss, and I think we did,” Slipper said.
Ireland weren’t at their best, that’s for sure, but the fact that this highly trained team could remain so calm in the face of wave after wave of Australian attack phase shows exactly why they are the number one team in the world.
Ireland’s players celebrate after the final siren confirmed their three-point win over Australia, their third in a row
Substitute captain Peter O’Mahony said it was the home fans who helped get the team across the line.
“It was a serious test match,” a relieved O’Mahoney said after the match.
‘We were under pressure in that first half and we didn’t have a huge amount of the ball, but I’m very happy with the way the guys dug in defensively.
“It wasn’t one of our best performances … but ending the year in front of our home crowd with a win is very important to us,” O’Mahoney said.
Australia will now look to avoid the undesirable record of worst-performing Wallabies team since 1958 against Wales next Sunday morning (2:15am AEDT) in their final game of the spring tour.