Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Rugby World Cup: Whole new ball game for Ireland

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Declan Kidney, coach of Ireland looks on during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Declan Kidney, coach of Ireland looks on during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Ireland's Paul O'Connell celebrates after the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Stephen Ferris of Ireland celebrates victory after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Irish fans celebrate victory at the final whistle during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies is high tackled by Rob Kearney of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: James O'Connor (R) of the Wallabies walks off dejected with Anthony Fainga'a after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: James O'Connor (C) of the Wallabies walks off dejected with team mates during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: James Horwill (L) and Sekope Kepu of the Wallabies look dejected after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Ireland fans celebrate victory after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Ireland fans celebrate victory after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Radike Samo (R) and Rob Simmons of the Wallabies look dejected during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Paul O'Connell of Ireland wins the line out ball during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: James Horwill of the Wallabies drops the ball under pressure from Paul O'Connell of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland celebrates victory after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Mike Ross of Ireland charges forward during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Mike Ross of Ireland charges forward during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Rocky Elsom of the Wallabies walks off dejected after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: The rain comes down over the corner flag during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies is high tackled by Rob Kearney of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Quade Cooper of the Wallabies looks on during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: The rain comes down over the corner flag during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ireland's Ronan O'Gara celebrates after the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Irish fans celebrate victory at the final whistle during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Tom Court of Ireland and Jamie Heaslip of Ireland celebrate at the final whistle during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies looks dejected after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Quade Cooper of the Wallabies drops the high ball during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ireland fans celebrate in the stands during the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Ireland fans celebrate in the stands during the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Australia's Kurtley Beale squares up to Ireland's Conor Murray (left) during the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton celebrates after the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Ireland fans celebrate in the stands during the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies takes a high ball during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: The Wallabies walk off the field dejected after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Paul O'Connell of Ireland (C) is congratulated after winning a penalty during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Irish fans celebrate victory at the final whistle during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Irish fans celebrate victory at the final whistle during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Irish fans celebrate victory at the final whistle during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland (L) encourages his team during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Sekope Kepu of the Wallabies walks off dejected after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Donncha O'Callaghan of Ireland ins the line out ball during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: The Wallabies walk off the field dejected after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Adam Ashley-Cooper of the Wallabies is charges forward during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Adam Ashley-Cooper of the Wallabies is charges forward during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ireland's Ronan O'Gara celebrates after the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Paul O'Connell, Tom Court and Stephen Ferris of Ireland celebrate victory at the final whistle during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Radike Samo and Saia Fainga'a of the Wallabies look on dejected adter the final whistle during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Will Genia of the Wallabies charges forward with the ball during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Tom Court (C) of Ireland celebrates victory with team mates during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: The Wallabies walk off the field dejected after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Will Genia and Quade Cooper of the Wallabies look on dejected adter the final whistle during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: James Horwill, captain of the Wallabies talks to his team as Rocky Elsom looks on during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Will Genia (L) of the Wallabies looks dejected with Radike Samo during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Brian O'Driscoll (L) and Keith Earls (R) of Ireland tackle Quade Cooper of the Wallabies during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Anthony Fainga'a of the Wallabies looks dejected during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: James Horwill of the Wallabies looks on during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: James Horwill, captain of the Wallabies looks dejected during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Adam Ashley-Cooper of the Wallabies charges forward past Jonathan Sexton of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Ronan O'Gara of Ireland converts a penalty during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Adam Ashley-Cooper of the Wallabies is tackled by Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Dan Vickerman and Radike Samo of the Wallabies look dejected during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland kicks a penalty during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: James Horwill of the Wallabies (R) looks dejected during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Eoin Reddan of Ireland passes the ball during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: James Horwill, captain of the Wallabies jumps for a lineout ball with Donncha O'Callaghan of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: (L-R) Dan Vickerman, Sekope Kepu and Rocky Elsom of the Wallabies look dejected during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Paul O'Connell of Ireland tries to reach for the ball from Radike Samo of the Wallabies during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies is high tackled by Rob Kearney of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Quade Cooper of the Wallabies jumps for a high ball during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies is high tackled by Rob Kearney of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Ireland and Australian Wallabies fans look on during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: An Ireland fan looks on ahead of the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: A Wallabies fan soaks up the atmosphere during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Wallabies and Ireland fans soak up the atmosphere during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Wallabies fans soak up the atmosphere during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Ireland fans soak up the atmosphere ahead of the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: A masked Ireland fan looks on ahead of the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Will Genia of the Wallabies is tackled by Jamie Heaslip of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Will Genia of the Wallabies is tackled by Donncha O'Callaghan (L) and Paul O'Connell of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland gives intructions during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Rocky Elsom of the Wallabies wins the lineout ball during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Pat McCabe of the Wallabies is tackled by Keith Earls of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
An Ireland fan in the stands during the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies tackles Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Ben McCalman and Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies tackle Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland drives on past Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Quade Cooper of the Wallabies charges forward during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Paul O'Connell of Ireland tries to reach for the ball from Radike Samo of the Wallabies during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Pat McCabe of the Wallabies is tackled by Sean O'Brien of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies is tackled by Rob Kearney of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Ben McCalman and Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies tackle Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Ben Alexander of the Wallabies is high tackled by Rob Kearney of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: A Wallabies fan looks on during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Keith Earls of Ireland is tackled by Pat McCabe of the Wallabies during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Will Genia of the Wallabies is tackled by Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell and Mike Ross of Ireland and during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Tommy Bowe of Ireland is tackled by Adam Ashley-Cooper of the Wallabies during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Radike Samo of the Wallabies is tackled by Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Sean O'Brien of Ireland grabs the ball ahead of Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Sean O'Brien of Ireland and Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies scramble for the ball during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies tackles Brian O'Driscoll of Ireland during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

With 10 minutes to go and Ireland having just gone nine points up, a Wallaby supporter rose to his feet in a desperate attempt to rouse the Australian crowd. “Aussie, Aussie Aussie?” he implored.

Nothing, not a peep, and he slumped back into his seat.

It was just another battle the Australians lost on an epic evening in Auckland. The green masses, Irishness accentuated by distance from home, created a fantastic atmosphere, swamping their gold-clad counterparts and, as Keith Earls noted afterwards, the ‘Ole Ole Ole' chants gave the occasion a distinct Italia '90 feel.

A big Irish performance was expected but few were prepared for the completeness of this display and the incredible levels of intensity, least of all the Aussies.

This was a monumental result, Ireland's best World Cup performance by a considerable distance and given the stage, the opposition and the consequences, the biggest result in Irish rugby history. For the moment.

It is also a result that has flipped the tournament upside-down, with the Wallabies now on course for a quarter-final against the Springboks before the winner faces the All Blacks in the semis, which means the ‘dream' New Zealand-Australia final will not take place. Shame that.

On the far side, the Six Nations teams, nostrils flaring, now smell a path to the final, with Ireland likely to face Wales in the quarters (the Welsh beat Samoa yesterday), with England or France providing the other semi-finalist.

Sanguine as ever, Declan Kidney wasn't complaining. “It's probably good for the World Cup. Let the Tri-Nations sort out one half and the Six Nations sort out the other half,” said the Ireland coach.

The sense of shock in the Aussie camp was palpable. This was not part of the plan for a side that had been on a high since claiming the Tri-Nations title, and the sight of their scrum being emasculated revived unsettling memories of Marseilles four years ago when England did a number on them and pushed them all the way home.

All the work Australia have done on their scrum since then was blown away by the technical excellence and sheer power of the Irish pack.

The tremendous Cian Healy got Man of the Match, but it could have easily gone to Rory Best or Mike Ross while all eight forwards adhered to the mantra of scrum coach Greg Feek by working together as a unit.

The penalties flowed as a result and, although it was another difficult night for place-kickers, with Jonathan Sexton and James O'Connor both struggling, Ireland's scrum dominance kept Australia on the back foot and gave them a psychological edge.

Fears that World Cup referees would reduce the impact of the scrum in order to keep the game flowing have not materialised and, though it took Ireland a while to realise the fact that Ross was the man to make them a scrummaging force, they got there in the end and now their scrum is a major weapon.

All week, the Irish camp had crackled with intent while the Wallabies could not mask a sense of complacency. The torpor of August and uncertainty of New Plymouth were banished as Ireland got their game plan spot on, while the Wallabies looked ill-prepared.

After plenty of Irish discussion about it, this was cup rugby in action, produced by players who have been reared on it since their schooldays.

Work the set-pieces, put pressure on the opposition's key men, play for territory, close down space and move the ball at the right moments.

And, when the rain began to teem in the second half and Sexton continued to put up garryowens on Kurtley Beale (Australia's best player) and Quade Cooper, we could have been in Musgrave Park, Donnybrook, Ravenhill or the Sportsground. This was old school and the Wallabies did not like it.

It was a day when everything seemed to go Ireland's way, not least the withdrawal of David Pocock and Stephen Moore before kick-off.

Shorn of their breakdown master, Australia were unable to prevent Ireland from producing good ruck ball and the Irish back-row backed up the effort of their front-five with a big performance at the breakdown.

Will Genia was the main target and the Irish hassled him through the middle throughout the game, notably when Stephen Ferris picked him up and carted him like a bag of shopping towards the Wallaby posts.

Under similar pressure, Kiwi out-half Cooper tried to force the ‘magic' to happen, butchering a couple of try-scoring opportunities through unnecessary showboating. Ireland would have liked a try themselves and came close on several occasions, notably when Tommy Bowe intercepted a Cooper folly only to be hunted down superbly by O'Connor having run the length of the pitch and then when impressive replacement Conor Murray danced over only to be called back by Bryce Lawrence.

Not a bother. It would have been good to compound Irish superiority with a bigger scoreline but 15-6 will do just fine, thank you very much.

The future is looking pretty rosy for Ireland now. The frustrating aspect to a seminal evening is the fact that it took a backs-to-the-wall build-up for Ireland to really show what they are capable of.

If they can hit this level of intensity for the remainder of the tournament, who knows how far it will take them? Russia, Italy, Wales, England and New Zealand in the final?

Don't rule it out, on this evidence, it's on.

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