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Ireland better off for Wallabies battle, says Farrell

Ireland better off for Wallabies battle, says Farrell

Ireland better off for Wallabies battle, says Farrell

Ireland were made to scrap all the way but coach Andy Farrell believes they will learn a lot from their 13-10 win over Australia in Dublin.

The world’s top ranked side snuck home thanks to a late Ross Byrne penalty to complete an unbeaten Autumn Nations Series, doing so without skipper Johnny Sexton, who pulled out late on with a calf injury.

That meant a first Test start for Jack Crowley, with Byrne coming onto the bench, and the duo combined to help eek out the win in difficult circumstances.

For Farrell, there was no question that his team were not at their best, but that did not detract from another victory, Ireland’s ninth in 11 matches in 2022.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the win. We found a way and that is what good sides do when they are not at their best. We weren’t at our best for all sorts of reasons. I thought Australia had a big part to play in that. They made it very hard for us, especially at the breakdown, so hats off to them.

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“That is why it was such a good win for us as a squad, no one likes to lose their captain just before the game. But it’s great for us going forward and finding out about ourselves as a group. Jack coming in, what a five or six weeks it has been for him, playing for Emerging Ireland and then find himself on the bench for his debut (against Fiji).

“Then he finds himself starting and the group looked after him. It’s awesome in this window to find out more about the group and helps us push forwards to the Six Nations.”

Australia only ever seem to play close matches – this three-point loss was the biggest margin of victory in their four games this November.

Jordan Petaia’s try had levelled the scores with eight minutes remaining, and they had a chance to win it with a five-metre lineout late on.

They could not execute though, and also paid the price for poor discipline as they found themselves down to 13 at one point in the second half.

For winger Mark Nawaqanitawase, one of their standout performers, there was understandable frustration and falling short for the third week running after one-point losses in Italy and France.

He said: “We’re definitely gutted. We got ourselves in position there. Discipline has been one of the things we have been trying to work on and obviously it’s hurt us again. As a result, we’ve come so close but we just can’t finish it there.

“We’re one team, we represent all 56 of us that are here but also a whole country. It’s not only Dave (Rennie) but for everyone in Australia, we’re trying to step up and after that performance last week (in Italy), we tried to come back and put on a show. But we couldn’t finish it off here.”

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