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Aussie Stars Punish Irish
6 June 2003, 12:33 pm
Wallaby skipper George Gregan broke a four-year try-scoring drought with a double to steer his side to a 45-16 victory over Ireland in their Test match at Subiaco Oval in Perth.
Wallaby skipper George Gregan broke a four-year try-scoring drought with a double to steer his side to a 45-16 victory over Ireland in their Test match at Subiaco Oval in Perth.

Australian five-eighth Elton Flatley also collected a 20-point haul, including a try, six conversions and a penalty goal, and pulled off a try-saving tackle in the second half. Man of the match Gregan hadn't scored a try for Australia since the quarter-finals of the 1999 World Cup, when he crossed twice in their win over Wales.

Stand-in flyhalf Elton Flatley laid claim to the permanent starting position by notching 20 points in a man of the match performance including a try. The Reds' No.10 produced a superb display to orchestrate a noteworthy win and his combination with scrum half George Gregan would have delighted coach Eddie Jones. The result was cruel on Eddie O'Sullivan's side who, despite missing several big name stars, pressed their hosts throughout the opening period before the Wallabies upped their game after the break. One particular moment turned the match in the 67th minute as several phases of play failed to breach the green and gold line before Australian full-back Chris Latham pounced on an error. He raced away for the try, Elton Flatley converted and the home side were 38-16 up with only 13 minutes remaining. That sucked the life out of Ireland and a penalty try merely added extra pain. The first half had promised much, with Ireland skipper David Humphreys kicking eight points and setting up their lone try for winger John Kelly as they trailed 14-13 at the break. Humphreys opened the scoring with a penalty after four minutes before Australian skipper George Gregan scored an opportunist try from 22 yards out to put the Wallabies in front for the first time. Gregan picked up the ball after a punishing drive by number eight Toutai Kefu to beat off a weak challenge from his opposite number Peter Stringer. Ireland, trying to play a more expansive game, pushed in to Australia's half of the field before the Wallabies quickly gained momentum with Gregan playing a pivotal role. Humphreys, who had earlier left the field with a facial injury, returned to set up the try for winger Kelly on the half-hour and then converted to give the Irish a one-point lead. But a minute later Australian fly-half Flatley, running on a superb angle, beat three desperate tackles to go over for Australia's second try of the evening. With five minutes left in the half, Humphreys added two more points to bring the Irish to within one point of their opponents at the break. But the tourists resolve faltered in the second half and they were punished accordingly.

Final Score: Australia 45 Ireland 16 Australia: Bill Young, Jeremy Paul, Patricio Noriega, Nathan Sharpe, David Giffin, David Lyons, George Smith, Toutai Kefu (v-c), George Gregan (c), Elton Flatley, Joe Roff, Steve Kefu, Morgan Turinui, Wendell Sailor, Chris Latham Replacements: Brendan Cannon, Ben Darwin, Daniel Vickerman, Phil Waugh, Chris Whitaker, Nathan Grey, Lote Tuqiri Ireland: Girvan Dempsey, James Topping, Geordan Murphy, Kevin Maggs, John Kelly, David Humphreys, Peter Stringer, Victor Costello, Keith Gleeson, Alan Quinlan, Malcolm O'Kelly, Gary Longwell, Reggie Corrigan, Shane Byrne, Marcus Horan Replacements: Paul Shields, Emmet Byrne, Paul O'Connell, Eric Miller, Guy Easterby, Ronan O'Gara, Tyrone Howe. Venue: Subiaco Oval, Perth Referee: N. Williams (Wales)

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