Australian attack outclass Irish in 32-15 win

Australian attack outclass Irish in 32-15 win

Two tries from flanker Michael Hooper and one each for Nick Cummins and Quade Cooper, who added 12 points from his boot, saw Ewen McKenzie’s side follow up last week’s demolition of Italy after defeat against England earlier this month.

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“It’s a good night, a good performance and we need to go on and do the job for the next two,” Hooper said in a pitchside interview after the game, looking forward to the Wallabies’ final tour tests against Scotland and Wales.

Cooper, left out in the cold under the previous regime when Australia hosted the British and Irish Lions earlier this year, opened the scoring with a ninth minute penalty before Jonathan Sexton levelled, capitalising on a huge drive by the Irish pack.

Cooper spurned a second shot at goal minutes later but as was the case against Italy, he was at the heart of the Australian attack, finding hooker Stephen Moore in space whose one-handed pass allowed Cummins to dart in for a try.

Schmidt warned last week that his side would be punished if they persisted to kick possession away and they were duly carved open again minutes later when another unlikely forward assist, this time a Scott Fardy reverse pass, sent Hooper over.

Ireland responded well and went close to crossing the Australian line twice before Sexton, who uncharacteristically missed a penalty between the Australian tries, slotted over his next two opportunities to cut the lead to 15-9.

The second penalty saw Hooper sin binned, a victim of persistent Australian fouling and Sexton cut the deficit to just three points with another penalty just before the break.

The Racing Metro flyhalf departed the pitch at halftime holding his hamstring, the injury that ended his Six Nations early this year, and he failed to emerge for the second half, replaced by his former Leinster understudy Ian Madigan.

SECOND HALF SLUMP

What little momentum was generated before the break went with him however and the second half performance was among Ireland’s worst in recent years.

They were fortunate not to concede a quick try just after the restart when Cummins appeared to have touched down in the corner, with Cooper all set to add the conversion before the fourth official adjudged the winger to have knocked on.

It mattered little as Cooper coasted all too easily between Madigan and the similarly inexperienced Luke Marshall to cross over and the addition of a conversion and penalty put the Aussies 12 points ahead again within 10 minutes of halftime.

Madigan began to settle in, knocking over his first shot at goal but Ireland continued to kick the ball down the throat of fullback Israel Folau, superb as ever in the air, and the contest was put beyond doubt 13 minutes from time.

Hooper’s second try proved the most straightforward of the evening as he emerged with the ball after the Australian pack piled over the line, although it nevertheless showed just how ruthless McKenzie’s men can be.

Australia, who last won in Dublin eight years ago and lost the teams’ last encounter at the 2011 World Cup, had Tevita Kuridrani sent off for a dangerous tackle in the closing minutes but it mattered little to the outcome.

Ireland, watched by the soccer team’s new assistant Roy Keane, who has demoted the rugby boys from the back pages all week, will need to do an awful lot better if they are to spoil New Zealand’s perfect year next weekend.

(Editing by Justin Palmer)