Australia: 42
Ireland: 12

  • Diab Karim (6),
  • Adam Tannock (9),
  • Bayley McKenna (15),
  • Brad Grove (28),
  • Brad Grove (35),
  • Bayley McKenna (37),
  • Brad Grove (37),
  • Peter Arbuckle (38),
  • James Hill (45),
  • Liam Luff (59),
  • Liam Luff (62),
  • Bayley McKenna (69),
  • Diab Karim (74)
  • Phil Roberts (20),
  • James McCarthy (22),
  • James McCarthy (65)

  • Bayley McKenna (10/10),
  • Diab Karim (2/3)
  • Peter Johnston (3/3)

  • Bayley McKenna,
  • Diab Karim,
  • Brad Grove,
  • Adam Tannock,
  • Peter Arbuckle,
  • Craig Cannane,
  • Shaun Harre,
  • James Hill,
  • Zac Schumacher,
  • Liam Luff
  • Toby Burton-Carter,
  • Peter Johnston,
  • Tom Martin,
  • Phil Roberts,
  • James McCarthy,
  • Oran Spain,
  • Paddy Forbes,
  • Scott Robertson,
  • Kenneth Maloney,
  • Rick Rodgers

Match report

Ireland head coach Damian McCabe could not fault his side’s spirit despite falling to a 76-18 defeat to Australia.

Bayley McKenna and captain Brad Grove both registered hat-tricks as the Wheelaroos pulled away after tries from Phil Roberts and James McCarthy had threatened to keep the game tight.

Australia had seven different try scorers as Liam Luff scored his first and second tries at a World Cup to see the Wheelaroos set up a showdown for the semi-finals with Spain on Wednesday. 

“One thing this team will never lack is pride, nobody will outdo this team on pride or effort,” he said.

“They may be outdone on speed like they were today, they may be outdone by a team being just a better side.

“But they will never be outdone on pride.”

Just as he had done in the England loss, Diab Karim opened the scoring before Adam Tannock added a second.

A rare gust of wind inside the Copper Box Arena seemed to blow McKenna’s conversion attempt off the tee before he successfully converted, not missing any of his kicks.

It may have looked like the wind had picked up again as McKenna’s mullet was ruffling five minutes later, but it was the young Wheelaroo flying across the pitch for his opening try.

Ireland fought back through Roberts, before McCarthy latched onto a bouncing kick to bring Ireland within six points.

Australia responded with four more tries before half-time, Grove and McKenna moving to two tries each before Peter Arbuckle evaded a tackle from Rick Rodgers to give the Wheelaroos a 30-point lead at the break. 

Grove admitted that despite Australia’s speed being too much for Ireland to handle, he was keen to slow the game down which proved dividends in the second half.

He added: “It was a good game. We started off a bit sluggish, maybe a little bit overconfident and maybe a couple bad calls on our end, defensive wise.

“But I'm happy with the result, we had a chat at half-time and throughout the game about trying to work things out and just slowing our pace down a little bit on offense.

“The scoreline shows it worked out, but we were probably going a bit too quick to start off with and once we slowed down those couple of first sets, we're able to use that pace off the back to get those tries.”

There was more McKenna magic after half-time as he sealed his hat-trick, the Townsville Brother stretching acrobatically to dot the ball down from a fabulous Karim kick.

Having also set up both of Luff’s tries, Karim deservedly got Australia’s 13th and final try to round out a strong performance.

Ireland will face now already-qualified England on Wednesday with their own hopes of a semi-final berth dashed, before Australia and Spain lock horns for the final last-four spot from Group A.