Ireland. . . .18
IRELAND fell victim to the record-breaking boot of Michael Lynagh, but at least averted the expected avalanche of points from elsewhere in their second Test against Australia here.
Lynagh became the first man to score 800 points in Tests, thanks to five penalties and a conversion. The fact that for much of the match he was the difference between Ireland and the world champions reflected some credit on the Irish at the end of their Australian tour.
'We played a lot better than we did last week,' said Lynagh, who has now set his sights on being the first to 1,000 points in internationals. 'So the score indicates that Ireland played a lot better as well.'
Ireland got a flying start when driving forward play under Conor O'Shea's kick-off, and Michael Bradley's immediate up-and-under, brought O'Shea a drop goal after 35 seconds.
The Australian pack's first-quarter surge was not maintained, but it gave them a lead that Ireland, for all their persistence, could only dent.
Rucking power gave them possession after O'Shea had taken Lynagh's high kick comfortably enough and the impressive Daniel Herbert scored one of the quicker debut tries on record after four minutes.
An unstoppable roll around the edge of a maul gave David Wilson the second Australian try and Lynagh's conversion, along with an earlier penalty, brought up his latest milestone.
A 45-yard penalty from O'Shea after Australia had failed to release the ball on the ground made modest inroads into the lead, but Lynagh was soon embarking on his ninth century as Australia's impetus forced infringements.
A try eight minutes from half-time gave Ireland renewed hope. It was begun by Niall Woods and David Corkery and kept alive by Simon Geoghegan and Keith Wood. Peter Clohessy finished it off, bouncing the last few yards for a score improved by O'Shea.
'After the first half, we thought we should be winning by a greater margin, but when we looked up at the scoreboard, they weren't far away from us,' Lynagh said.
Two more penalties, the second after a hundred-yard attack that was the game's highlight, secured Australia's lead, but back came the Irish again. They were denied a try when the French referee, Joel Dume, failed to allow the advantage after a late tackle in back play.
The damage was only temporary, as the affronted Irish forwards drove over from the scrum for Neil Francis to get the touchdown and Ireland were once more within sight of Australia with eight minutes to play.
Their hopes of snatching victory, however, disappeared three minutes later when Tabua carved his way through.
Australia: Tries Herbert, Wilson, Tabua; Conversion Lynagh; Penalties Lynagh 5. Ireland: Tries Clohessy, Francis; Conversion O'Shea; Penalty O'Shea; Drop O'Shea.
AUSTRALIA: M Burke; D Smith, D Herbert (all Queensland), R Tombs, D Campese (both New South Wales); M Lynagh (capt), P Slattery (both Queensland); A Daly, P Kearns, E McKenzie (all NSW), J Eales, G Morgan, I Tabua (all Queensland), T Gavin (NSW), D Wilson (Queensland). Replacement: R Constable (Queensland) for Smith, 74.
IRELAND: C O'Shea (Lansdowne); S Geoghegan (Bath), J Bell (Ballymena), P Danaher (Garryowen), N Woods (Blackrock); E Elwood (Lansdowne), M Bradley (Cork Constitution, capt); J Fitzgerald (Young Munster), K Wood (Garryowen), P Clohessy (Young Munster), G Fulcher (Cork C), N Francis (Old Belvedere), B Robinson (Ballymena), P Johns (Dungannon), D Corkery (Cork C).
Referee: J Dume (France).Reuse content