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Ireland 20-20 Australia

Ireland (6) 20
Tries: Bowe, O'Driscoll Cons: O'Gara 2 Pens: O'Gara 2
Australia (10) 20
Tries: Mitchell, Elsom Cons: Giteau 2 Pens: Giteau 2

Brian O'Driscoll

O'Driscoll crosses for last-gasp try

By Richard Petrie

Brian O'Driscoll marked his 100th Test appearance with a last-minute try to help Ireland salvage a 20-20 draw against Australia at Croke Park.

Australia led 10-6 at half-time, Drew Mitchell scoring a try, but Tommy Bowe touched down for Ireland in the second half and then Rocky Elsom scored a try.

Matt Giteau kicked 10 points to put the Aussies 20-13 ahead but O'Driscoll ran in under the posts to make it 20-18.

Ronan O'Gara converted with the last kick of the match to level the scores.

The draw ended Australia's hopes of a Grand Slam tour of the home nations, but it was a fair result after Ireland dragged themselves back into a match that seemed to have slipped away.

Kidney admits relief after late draw

The result also maintains Ireland's unbeaten record in 2009, with games against Fiji and world champions South Africa to come.

Much of the pre-match build-up focused on O'Driscoll becoming the 11th player to reach a century of Test appearances (with six of those coming for the British and Irish Lions), but he made an unwelcome contribution with his first touch of the ball. O'Gara's pass put the centre under pressure and he spilled the ball to give Mitchell a stroll to the line for the opening try in the second minute.

O'Gara replied with a straightforward fifth-minute penalty after the Wallabies were penalised for offside after a knock-on.

The visitors had the better of the opening 15 minutes but Giteau missed with his first penalty attempt of the game after the Irish were penalised for straying offside.

Drew Mitchell celebrates after scoring his early try
Mitchell was gifted his try after just two minutes

Australia were then pulled up for an offence at the line-out and O'Gara converted a penalty from in front of the posts to reduce Ireland's deficit to a point.

A Giteau penalty two minutes later restored Australia's four-point advantage and then the fly-half made a break but was tackled just short of the line by Rob Kearney.

On 29 minutes, Wycliff Palu was sin-binned by referee Jonathan Kaplan after the number eight was adjudged to have halted Kearney in a dangerous manner without using his arms, but Ireland failed to take advantage of their numerical advantage as the first half ended 10-6.

Giteau was off target with an early penalty effort four minutes after the break and then Keith Earls was introduced as a replacement for the injured Luke Fitzgerald.

606: DEBATE
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Giteau successfully landed a penalty after 54 minutes but Ireland responded in emphatic fashion, Bowe crossing the line under the posts after a fine Irish move which started with a charge by prop Cian Healy. O'Gara added the simple conversion to level the scores.

Australia took command again after a fine flowing move when skipper Elsom shrugged off a couple of Irish challenges and barged over the line, grounding the ball in the corner before being pushed into touch.

Giteau's conversion from a tight angle made it 20-13 to the tourists.

Bowe crossed the line again with three minutes remaining but replays failed to conclusively show that he had managed to ground the ball.

Elsom blames late lapses in Ireland draw

With time running out, O'Driscoll - as on so many occasions in the past - proved Ireland's saviour as he caught Australia's defence napping to cruise through under the posts without a finger being laid on him.

It had been a quiet game for O'Driscoll but he sprung to life just at the right time, to allow O'Gara to level the scores with the conversion.


Ireland: Kearney, Bowe, B. O'Driscoll, P. Wallace, Fitzgerald, O'Gara, O'Leary, Healy, Flannery, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Connell, Ferris, D. Wallace, Heaslip.
Replacements: Earls for Fitzgerald (53), Leamy for Ferris (75).
Not Used: Cronin, Court, Cullen, Reddan, Sexton.

Australia: Ashley-Cooper, Hynes, Ioane, Cooper, Mitchell, Giteau, Genia, Robinson, Moore, Alexander, Horwill, Chisholm, Elsom, Pocock, Palu.
Replacements: O'Connor for Ashley-Cooper (69), Polota-Nau for Moore (64).
Not Used: Dunning, Mumm, G. Smith, Burgess, Cross.

Sin Bin: Palu (29).

Att: 74,000

Ref: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa).



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see also
O'Driscoll praises Irish attitude
15 Nov 09 |  Irish
Ireland v Australia photos
15 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Ireland v Australia as it happened
15 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Kidney has faith in his front row
12 Nov 09 |  Irish
Prop Healy wins first Ireland cap
11 Nov 09 |  Irish
Hayes ban reduced to five weeks
13 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
England 9-18 Australia
07 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Horan out of Ireland autumn games
06 Nov 09 |  Irish
Henry called into Ireland squad
27 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union


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