IRELAND 0 AUSTRALIA 50
Jarryd Hayne scored a try within the opening two minutes of the game. Photo: Getty Images
LIMERICK: Australia may have played some dull football at times but it was exactly what coach Tim Sheens wanted as the Kangaroos raced in nine tries to beat Ireland 50-0.
Sheens wanted his side to be patient with the ball and have a good kick and chase as they focused on what they will need to do in the later stages of the Rugby League World Cup. Australia have now gone back-to-back pool games without conceding a try.
Cooper Cronk and Jarryd Hayne scored two tries in a stop-start game where Australia won the penalty count 12-3 in cold conditions in front of 5021 people at Thomond Park, Limerick. Daly Cherry-Evans was again a standout and collected man-of-the-match honours, while Andrew Fifita and Paul Gallen took Australia forward.
Man of the match Daly Cherry-Evans. Photo: Getty Images
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Hayne(2), Cronk(2), Bird, Morris, Slater, Cherry-Evans, Fifita||Tries||9||Tries||0||Players|
|Players||Smith 3/5 (60%), Parker 4/4 (100%)||Conversions||7||Conversions||0||Players|
|Players||Penalty goals||0||Penalty goals||0||Players|
|Players||Field goals||0||Field goals||0||Players|
The victory ensured the Kangaroos were undefeated in their three pool games and booked them a quarter final match against the USA, while Ireland finished the tournament winless.
“We played nice and tight,” Sheens said. “We got a little bit excited in the first half near the line. We settled back down in the second half. We weren’t worried about a score. We wanted to be disciplined and have a good kick chase. If our kick chase was good we were able to defend it easy.”
When Hayne scored after just two minutes it looked like Australia would score at will. And perhaps that crossed their minds, because their timing and rhythm was off at times during the game. They were patient – perhaps too patient in patches – and seemed content to build for a try rather than look to rack up points.
Kangaroos triumph in Limerick
Cooper Cronk of Australia cuts between Liam Finn (R) and Joshua Toole (L) of Ireland. Photo: Getty Images
While Australia’s attack looked disjointed, their defence was impressive as Ireland weren’t tackled inside Australia’s 20-metre line in the first half.
“I think we had some good things and timing issues,” Sheens said of Australia’s attack. “We haven’t played with the same halves and have had two fullbacks. They are as cranky as hell about that. After the three pool games, we lead our pool and I think we can play better.’’
Hayne benefited from a line break from centre Brent Tate as he raced 20 metres up the sideline to open the scoring.
Australia scored at their next opportunity when Cronk slid across the field and the Irish defence was fooled by his show and go.
With Australia’s right edge of Cronk, Tate, Hayne and Sam Thaiday dominating early, the left edge finally got their chance to push for a try when Cherry-Evans threw a well-timed cut-out pass to Greg Bird to give Australia their third try within 29 minutes.
Hooker Cameron Smith – who was replaced by Robbie Farah at half-time and did not return - was scheming out of dummy half, and when he grubbered, winger Brett Morris collected a rebounding ball to add the next points.
Fullback Billy Slater scored on the stroke of half-time to give Australia a 26-0 lead.
Australia’s poor execution continued in the second half and it took 17 minutes for them to add to their points tally, with Cronk scoring his second try. Australia scored another try quickly after when Cherry-Evans spun out of two tackles and then regathered his own grubber.
Australia then finished with a flurry, with Hayne and Fifita scoring as they look towards the knockout stages of the tournament.
AUSTRALIA 50 (C Cronk 2 J Hayne 2 G Bird D Cherry-Evans A Fifita B Morris B Slater tries C Parker 4 C Smith 3 goals) bt IRELAND 0 at Thomond Park.