Brisbane: David Pocock returned to test rugby with a bang yesterday to help Australia to a hardfought 18-9 win over Ireland in Brisbane and give the Wallabies a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The openside flanker, who sat out 2017 on a sabbatical, scored Australia’s second try in the 72nd minute and was a constant menace at the breakdown as the Irish fell to a first defeat in 13 tests.
Flyhalf Bernard Foley scored the rest of Australia’s points at Lang Park with a try, a conversion and two penalties, the second of which gave Australia a two-point lead with 12 minutes remaining.
Irish flyhalf Joey Carbery kicked three penalties for the Six Nations champions in a tight match that will only whet the appetite for the remaining tests in Melbourne and Sydney.
Body copy: The match opened at a frenetic pace and it was Australia who got the first points on the board when Foley landed the first of his penalties in the second minute.
Hooper put in a huge hit on Carbery in the 13th minute but the flyhalf got back up, brushed himself off and levelled the scores from the kicking tee a minute later.
Irish winger Jacob Stockdale made a try-saving tackle on Marika Koroibete in the 20th minute as his opposite number was charging for the line.