The Wallabies got the Robbie Deans coaching era off to a winning start, but Ireland came desperately close to bringing off an upset win at Docklands Stadium yesterday.
Australia clung on for an 18-12 victory, but their defense was under the pump to hold out the tenacious Irish in the final minutes after they lead 18-7 up to 18 minutes from time.
The Wallabies could not get away from the willing Irish, who dominated territory and possession and troubled the home side with their clever switches of play, focused around fly-half Ronan O’Gara and a swarming defense.
The Australians held on for their first win under the new coaching regime of New Zealander Deans, the first foreigner to coach the Wallabies.
Both sides scored two tries each, but it was the kicking of fly-half Matt Giteau, with two penalties and a conversion, that was just enough to get the Wallabies home.
It was poor reward for gutsy Ireland, coming to the end of a demanding 13-Test season stretching back to last year’s World Cup and on the back of their 21-11 loss to New Zealand in Wellington last weekend.
Ireland have now gone nine matches without a win in Australia since their 9-3 win over the Wallabies in Sydney in 1979.
The Irish won their previous encounter with Australia in Dublin in 2006, 21-6, but the Wallabies have won 19 of their 27 meetings.
Ireland, throwing the ball around at every opportunity, dominated possession and territory in a breathless opening half and tested the Australian defense, but only breached the try line once.
Wycliffe Palu and Lote Tuqiri combined for Australia’s opening try to inside-center Berrick Barnes in the sixth minute, Tuqiri passing off the ground for Barnes to score.
But the Irish stormed back nine minutes later with Munster blindside flanker Denis Leamy scoring off a rolling maul close to the Wallabies’ try line.
O’Gara’s conversion gave Ireland the lead, but it did not last long with lock James Horwill scoring on his Test debut after Matt Giteau’s dazzling footwork created the scoring opportunity.
Giteau added the extras for a 12-7 advantage and put his team further ahead with a 27th-minute penalty goal.
The Irish lost open-side flanker Shane Jennings with an arm injury, bringing Stephen Ferris into the game.
Ireland continued to ask questions of the Australian defense and opted for a quick tap instead of a penalty kick to attack the Aussie line before the clock beat them at halftime.
A loose pass from center Paddy Wallace was toed through by Stirling Mortlock and Australia won a penalty when they forced Ireland offside in a maul for Giteau to land his second penalty and an 18-7 lead minutes after the resumption.
But the Irish refused to throw in the towel and had several great scoring chances before skipper Brian O’Driscoll scored in the 62nd minute.
Fullback Robert Kearney and winger Tommy Bowe combined down the left to give O’Driscoll his scoring opportunity and he obliged to edge the Irish to within six points.
The Wallabies had to dig deep to pull out the win in their first outing since bowing out to England in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup in Marseille last October.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017