Rugby World Cup 2011: Ireland stun Australia
Impressive Ireland display secures their first World Cup success over Australia and puts them top of Pool C
Captain Brian O’Driscoll hailed the support of Ireland’s travelling fans after his side produced a brilliant performance to claim their first World Cup victory over Australia in Auckland on Saturday.
“It was the performance we knew we had in us,” said a beaming O’Driscoll after the Pool C clash. “You’d swear we were in Dublin with that crowd and it was our job to give them something to shout about.”
An enticing clash was ultimately decided by the power of the Ireland pack, with the kicking of Jonathan Sexton and Ronan O’Gara settling it.
Sexton landed nine points, while O’Gara added six – but it was the brilliant Ireland scrum that provided the platform for the famous win as the Wallabies struggled throughout.
O’Driscoll continued: “Paul [O’Connell] said it in the captain’s meeting that we had to go to the well today. It’s half the job done, we’ve two wins and we’ve two more to get. As much as we’ll enjoy this, let’s not lose sight of the remaining two games.”
Irish head coach Declan Kidney believes a World Cup victory over Australia was long overdue.
He said: “I was pleased with the way we went about our business. We managed to stifle a very good attacking side. I think our scrum is getting stronger, it’s getting there, but we’ve still got a bit of work to do.
“[At half-time the message was] to keep doing what we were doing. Forwards win matches, backs decide by how much. It’s the fifth time of playing Australia in the World Cup and you get fed up of losing, don’t you?”
Ireland, who take on Russia in their third World Cup clash on Sunday, are already three points clear of Australia in Pool C after having beaten the USA in their first game in New Zealand.
And lock Paul O’Connell was not surprised by his side’s impressive showing at Eden Park, claiming he was expecting an upset ahead of the game.
“I think [that performance] has always been there,” he said. “This last six or seven weeks we’ve been waiting for this game, this was always the big game at the back of our minds.
“We don’t mind being beaten but you hate not playing to your potential and at least today we played to our potential.
“We’ve won nothing, it’s just a pool game for us. Obviously today is a special day but this is a level we should be playing at consistently. Anything is achievable.”