Wallabies vs Ireland: Five things we learned

by Sam Phillips

The Wallabies snapped Ireland's 12 game winning streak with a robust win at Suncorp Stadium.

What are we talking about after the 18-9 win?

1. Pocock's still got it

David Pocock spent 18 months away from Test rugby but in his return, he was the best player on the ground by as far as you could kick your hat. He had 12 tackles, four forced turnovers and deservedly, scored the match winner yet somehow, that doesn't describe the impact he had on this match. He was ubiquitous for the Wallabies and without him, this result may have been different. Fair to say he hasn't missed a beat after a year long sabbatical.

2. Beale at his best

Kurtley Beale's weaving runs and scorching cutout passes were complemented by some smart defensive reads which halted the Irish attack when it picked up steam. His three tackle busts were at critical junctures when the Australians needed someone to crack the Irish line and with ball in hand, he posed the biggest threat. His combination with Bernard Foley just keeps getting better.

3. Tupou's terrific cameo

Taniela Tupou was immense when he entered the fray. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyTaniela Tupou was playing just his second Test on Saturday night and it was his work in a critical scrum in the 67th minute gave Bernard Foley the shot at goal which put the Australians back in front. There were four leg pumping, gain line smashing carries, too, making it a superb cameo for the 'Tongan Thor'. He wasn't the only player that came off the pine to have an impact, either. Tom Robertson, Pete Samu and Lukhan Tui all helped close the game out by outgunning the Irish finishers. 

4. Fortune favours the brave

The Wallabies were rewarded for a gutsy call to go for the line to close the game out. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyAfter Tupou and Foley combined to put the Australians in front it was a very brave decision from captain Michael Hooper to opt for a quick tap, rather than another kickable penalty, which won the Wallabies the game. Some composed phase play led by Will Genia, Foley and Beale followed, a slick Genia pass putting Pocock over to seal the result. Captains live by the swords and die by the swords and in this case, Hooper was made to look like a tactical genius.

5. Set piece wrinkles to be ironed out

There were three botched lineouts in an otherwise solid debut for Brandon Paenga-Amosa and that can be put down to rust, according to coach Michael Cheika. Those wrinkles will be ironed out but  the scrum, encouragingly, was superb. Even more so when the bench entered the fray, a note Cheika also made post match.