Ireland create history in Australia

Grand Slam champions Ireland made history as they claimed their first series victory over Australia since 1979 with a 20-16 win in Sydney.

Grand Slam champions Ireland made history as they claimed their first series victory over Australia since 1979 with a 20-16 win in Sydney.

Johnny Sexton kicked 15 points with CJ Stander chipping in with a second-half try as the Irish came from behind to claim the series, three months after their NatWest 6 Nations title.

Ireland found themselves under early pressure when Israel Folau reclaimed the kick-off, but Peter O’Mahony, in the No.7 jersey, showed that he can be a factor at the breakdown with an important turnover penalty.

David Pocock, who as ever was a threat at every ruck, was penalised after nine minutes, allowing Sexton to open the scoring with a penalty.

Australia hit straight back through Bernard Foley when the visitors strayed offside while defending close to their line.


And soon after the Wallabies were in front when Jacob Stockdale caught Nick Phipps with an elbow while carrying the ball and was sent to the sin-bin. Foley slotted the resulting penalty to make it 6-3 midway through the half.

From there, the home side would have expected to pile on the pressure, but instead it was the NatWest 6 Nations champions who proceeded to control possession and territory.

They had one chance to level matters when Conor Murray lined up a long-distance kick, but his effort drifted just wide of the posts.

However when Pete Samu, on for Michael Hooper, played Murray at a ruck, Sexton slotted the simple three to level.


As Stockdale returned, Australia lost Folau to the sin-bin when he was penalised for taking out O’Mahony in the air, with the Ireland skipper going off after the incident.

Ireland almost had the first try soon after when Murray picked and went at a ruck, trying to dot down against the base of the post.

After consultation with the TMO, he was deemed to have been stopped short, but offside against the Wallabies allowed Sexton to put Ireland back in front.

Australia responded through Foley, but from the restart on the final play of the game, Australia could not take the restart cleanly and the resulting penalty gave Sexton the chance to make it 12-9 at the break.


Ireland came out with huge intensity to start the second half, with Sexton’s tactical kicking outstanding once more pinning Australia back into their own 22.

From an attacking lineout they were stopped just short, but earned a penalty and therefore went back to the corner.

Second time around there would be no stopping them, with Stander the man to eventually get the ball down from a dominant maul.


Trailing by eight, Australia needed a response, and in the final half-hour they put Ireland under huge pressure.

The defence cracked once when a brilliant grubber through from Foley was collected by Marika Koroibete, who brushed aside one tackle to reach over the line. Foley’s conversion made it a one-point game.

Australia had chances to take the lead, with Foley pushing one penalty attempt wide, and instead it was Sexton who sealed the win from wide on the left two minutes from time and cap a remarkable season for Irish rugby.