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Sunday 16 December 2018

Aussies washed away by best ever Irish show

IT was everything and more than we could have hoped. Ireland gave a performance of intensity that we have seen too rarely, and increasingly less so, as this team has edged toward retirement.

It was everything and more than we could have hoped. Ireland gave a performance of intensity that we have seen too rarely, and increasingly less so, as this team has edged toward retirement.

These players have gone to the well so often for province and country that it hasn’t been sustainable, but it doesn’t have to be for much longer. Just another few days like that please, boys.

We all wished it to be true, but few believed. I thought we would have played a lot better than we had in the last month, but I felt sure that the lack of game time and the long injury list would make the team run out of steam in the last quarter. I couldn’t see us win. How wrong was I?

What we got was a perfect confluence of events. Before the kick-off, David Pocock, and the retrospectively important Stephen Moore, were pulled out through injury. Pocock’s absence meant Ireland got far faster ball than they would have expected.

Moore’s absence was more acutely felt as the hapless Tatafu Polata-Nau imploded at line-out time and was part of a front row \[Ian Winterton\]that were responsible for five penalties.

The heavens opened and it immediately reminded me of the downpour in Limerick a couple of years ago when Australia were washed away by Munster.

Guile

A lot of those players were playing for Australia on Saturday and they looked ill at ease in the rain. Australia’s game is based on sleight of hand and guile. They lost all confidence as the ball became a bar of soap.

Ireland played the referee, Lawrence, perfectly. There was more than a hint of arrogance or stupidity in the manner in which Australia steadfastly ignored the referee’s instructions whereas Ireland’s discipline, especially in adhering to the back-most foot ensured that they got all the breaks.

But all those reasons are a bit passionless and a sideshow. This win was all about passion, courage pride and loyalty. The intensity and attitude were superb. It was quite simply the best performance that I have ever seen from an Irish team.

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