The crowd set the scene for the opening exchanges with the out-numbered Irish supporters making more noise and showing far more enthusiasm in everything as the game started. It was a fairly accurate metaphor for what was happening on the field also.
The Wallabies were content to kick ball away with Burgess and QC both responsible for kicks that belonged in park footy, not a test. The Irish were happy to give the ball to the Wallabies and it was the sort of game and it resembled the worst of 2009 rugby.
It was back to ‘no confidence’ footy as the home side didn’t appear to want to back themselves. The Irish lead after 25 minutes despite not having been inside the Wallabies 22.
All too often promising chances were stymied by poor option taking, disorganisation and poor skills – the Irish were content to sit back and let the Wallabies do it to themselves.
On one of the rare occasions the Irish went wide they opened up the Wallabies with Horne being skinned by BO’D and to make his poor night complete, Horne was replaced at half time with a recurrence of his dodgy hamstring.
The Wallabies continued to get dragged down to the standard of the opposition and when they gave away another penalty for being in front of the kicker, the Irish skipped out again and the writing was on the wall.
It took until the 40th minute when an individual effort more akin to Michael Flatley saw Cooper cross to get something out of the half. The movement started back on the Wallaby 35 when Pocock snaffled a turnover and from the resulting penalty, the Wallabies at last played with some composure and recycled well from a lineout win.
The Wallabies had dominated field position but not much else in a performance that was a little like Kevin Rudd’s crack at the prime ministership, big on promise, but tragically short on delivery or consistency.
The start of the first exploded with the Irish making the running and exposing the Wallaby midfield at will.
At least this seemed to spark something in the Wallabies, and with KB showing some initiative, they looked far more positive despite the best efforts of Burgess to disrupt proceedings.
Things started to go plan finally and the Irish relied on professional fouls to stay in the match. They were aided and abetted by Lawrence who refused to dish out cards even though there was more than a decent case for such action.
With the game stepping up a notch, and the home team playing with some endeavour, all of a sudden the breakdown work started to get sloppy with the Wallabies giving away penalties while hard on attack.
This inability to control the ball cost the Wallabies and just as they had last week, they failed to get any sort of continuity to build pressure.
Deans was happy with the overall effort of the team but lamented the problems controling the ball at the breakdown.
“We showed when we maintained ball that we were able to create a lot of stess and things happened when we attacked the line but we didn’t do it for long enough in the game
“The boys worked their way through and awkward contest, played a lot of rugby and deserved to win but we are frustrated with not being able to get a little bit more out of it.”
Once again the Wallabies have struggled to rise above a weaker opponent with the Irish dictating the pace of the game and dragging the Wallabies into a slug-fest rather than a free flowing game.
Sadly the Tri-nations is just around the corner and even though the Wallabies will get some key troops back, it looks like being a long winter.