Great Wallaby Tries: 84 Grand Slam v Ireland

Great Wallaby Tries: 84 Grand Slam v Ireland

As with this tour, the second test on the 1984 Grand Slam tour was against Ireland, in Dublin.  The Irish would be different opponents from the Poms with a greater battle at the breakdown expected. Accordingly Alan Jones opted to play Chris Roche along side Simon Poidevin in the backrow, to have dual open-sides.  It was another try-less first half as Australia went to the break 3-0 up thanks to a Michael Lynagh drop goal.

In the second half Mark Ella also dropped a goal to give the Wallabies a six point lead.  Three quick penalties to Ireland soon had them ahead 9-6 and the Wallabies looking shakey. Another Ella droppy (for someone reknowned for his running game, he kicked a few) tied the score up. And it is here that we pick up play with about five minutes left on the match clock and at 5:54 on the youtube video.


Ireland have a lineout from which the skylab, Steve Cutler [5], is able to secure tap ball for Nick Farr-Jones [9].  It is tough ball and Farr-Jones clears it quickly to Ella [10] high and at his head.  Ella handles it sublimely and immediately moves forward towards the advantage line.

If you can, pause the video at around 6:00 even.  It is worth noting the Wallaby backline alignment here. They are close, all running off each others’ shoulders – Ella, Lynagh [12], Slack [13] and Burke[14]. Beautiful!

With the Irish backrow slow to move forward from the lineout Ella is able to get to the advantage line surprisingly easily. As his opposite number Paul Dean [10] moves forward Ella takes the ball to him before passing simply to Lynagh, who still has Slack on his shoulder and then Burke outside him. Watch for the way Ella evades the tackle, even after he’s passed the ball, to stay alive in the play.

Lynagh soon loses Slack in support as the Australian captain is tackled without the ball. So Lynagh moves towards the fullback Hugo McNeill [15] and passes to Burke who has maintained his alignment.  Further outside is David Campese [11], now in screen, whilst Ella continues to follow inside.

Burke breaks through the tackle of Trevor Ringland [14] and has Michael Kiernan [11], Michael Bradley [9] and Brendan Mullin [13] all covering across as Campo stays wide and Ella trails behind.

Burke then winds up for a big pass as he is tackled, but overcooks it.  The ball is high and slow to Campo who has to check his run and jump to take it.  Natural instincts come in and Campo weaves his magic with a beautiful in and away, turning the Irish 11, Kiernan, around before passing outside for the supporting …… Ella!

Match Details:

Ireland v Australia
Lansdowne Road, Dublin. 10th November, 1984

Australia: Roger Gould, Matthew Burke, Andrew Slack [c], Michael Lynagh, David Campese, Mark Ella, Nick Farr-Jones, Steve Tuynman, Simon Poidevin, Chris Roche, Steve Cutler, Stephen Williams, Enrique Rodrigez, Tom Lawton, Andy Mcintyre

Ireland: Hugo McNeill, Trevor Ringland, Brendan Mullin, Moss Finn, Michael Kiernan, Paul Dean, Michael Bradley, Ronan Kearney, W.J. Sexton, Phil Matthews, Donal Lenihan, Willie Anderson, Phil Orr, Ciaran Fitzgerald [c], J.J. Mccoy.

Australia 16 (Mark Ella try, 2 dgs; Michael Lynagh pg, dg) defeated Ireland 9 (Michael Kiernan 3 pg)



The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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