The Australian Schools and Under 18 Team ran out clear winners on a wet, but firm artificial surface in Dublin against the Ireland u/19 side – scoring three tries to one.
Reesjan Pasitoa, John Connolly and Angus Bell all crossed for the Australian side, who has been on a tour of Ireland for the past few weeks. This was their third consecutive game on these shores following a 34-15 win over Munster and a 22-17 defeat to Ulster in Belfast on Tuesday.
In a fiery opening to the contest, both sides looked to establish territory. Handling errors at either end brought a halt to any early attacking momentum.
Winger Viliami Lea's carry acted as the springboard for Australia's deadlock-breaking try in the 13th minute. Following a series of phases inside the Irish 22, Spencer Jeans passed out wide to half-back partner Pasitoa for a powerful drive over the whitewash. While the same player was wide of the mark with the tricky conversion, the Australians were settling into their stride.
The Irish challenge was beginning to gather pace as the first half progressed. An extended spell inside the Australian half increased the pressure, with Banbridge number 8 David McCann particularly prominent. After they created ample space out on the right, lock Paddy Kelly's quick hands released St. Michael's College winger Andrew Smith for a well-taken try in the corner.
This was only a temporary respite for the u/19 Irish side, as Australia responded with their second try close to half-time
Capitalising on a defensive mix-up, full-back Connolly applied the finishing touches on the right wing for another unconverted score. That gave them a 10-5 break at the break, leaving Ireland with ground to make up on the resumption.
Australia was down to 14 men soon after, scrum-half Jeans was sin-binned for a late tackle. Rather than kicking to the corner and forging a lineout maul, Ireland's captain Delaney was called up to take another kick at goal. The wind and rain were playing havoc with the kickers' accuracy and he once again fired wide of the posts, much to Australia's relief.
Despite being under the cosh during the sin bin period, Australia managed to hold Ireland out in an effective fashion.
Ireland remained in contention approaching the hour mark until the Australians put the outcome beyond doubt with a third try. Lea made significant ground with a run up the wing and put centre Angus Bell over for a neat five-pointer. Pasitoa impressively added the extras as Australia Schools & u/18s took the spoils on the all-weather pitch.
The touring Australia u/18 team's next games are both played in Edinburgh
– v Scottish Schools Selection–Wednesday 12th
– v Scottish Under 18s–Sunday 16th