Mighty Ireland blow the World Cup wide open

Shock in Auckland shows England a final path cleared of Tri-Nations teams

Dunedin

England went into this morning's game against Georgia knowing a way has been opened to the Rugby World Cup final which will not involve any Tri-Nations teams. Ireland's 15-6 defeat of Australia in Auckland blew the form book apart. England had earmarked the Wallabies as semi-finalists in their half of the draw.

Ireland will believe they can claim that spot. Two penalties apiece by Jonny Sexton and Ronan O'Gara and a drop-goal from Sexton beat the Tri-Nations champions. If Ireland win Pool C by beating Russia and Italy they will meet the runners-up from Pool D – possibly Wales, who faced Samoa in today's early kick-off – in Wellington on 8 October. The winners of that match look set to face England or France in the semi-finals.

The flankers Stephen Ferris and Sean O'Brien were rampant as Ireland inflicted Australia's second-ever World Cup pool defeat. Added to a 22-10 win over the USA it gave the Irish, who lost all four of their warm-up matches, hope of making the last four for the first time.

"It's a performance we knew we had in us," said Brian O'Driscoll, the captain. "We had to dig deeper than we had done in the last five games. [But] it's only half the job done. We have two wins and two more to get."

His Wallaby counterpart, James Horwill, looked suitably aghast at the prospect of a quarter-final against South Africa. He said: "We played some dumb footy. We weren't good enough."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test