Wow! Have there been some amazing games at this RWC or what? A tryless test, yet every bit as thrilling as an 83-7 point exhibition match. By upsetting Australia, Ireland have put this tournament on the map and have brought some much needed respect from the south for northern hemisphere rugby.
I hate to gloat - but I've had the Irish down as dark horses of this tournament ever since November. (And I drew them in my office sweepstake). It got me thinking, if NZ have to lose the RWC - then I could *almost* handle a team like Ireland winning it, because they always endeavour to play a style of rugby that isn't just about kicking at goal.
What happened to Oz? Hardly any old wise heads meant the youth couldn't turn this match around. Quade Cooper was rudderless (shades of Carlos Spencer on a bad day). Oz missed Ioane and Pocock desperately. And as for that Eden Park hoodoo? The last game Oz won in Auckland was 1986. It has to have knocked the wind out of their sails, especially after a successful Super 15 and Tri Nations campaign. Good.
Irish defence was immense (keeping the Wallabies tryless is no mean feat). The Irish back row I will now admit is arguably one of the best in the world. Their backs did all they had to do. They played with passion and heart, spurred on by a crowd of 55,000 Irish supporters (56,000 there tonight).
This victory for Ireland has now changed the shape of the draw. All going to plan, they will play NH teams until the final and Australia will have the daunting prospect of facing the Springboks for a quarterfinal and the All Blacks for a semi. Although I didn't want to meet Australia before the final, I'm kind of glad we won’t have to overcome two Tri Nations teams. Or maybe the ABs could put Jimmy Cowan on one wing and Piri Weepu on the other for France next Saturday?