Stephen Ferris has hailed the performance of Peter O’Mahony after Ireland beat Australia 26-21 in the second test in Melbourne.
Ireland, beaten 19-9 by the Wallabies in Brisbane, found themselves behind from the outset after Kurtley Beale scored after just two minutes. But the visitors responded with purpose and the Ireland captain delivered a man-of-the-match performance.
“I think Australia were a bit lacisdasical in their attack and servicing the breakdown,” said former Ireland star Ferris. “They kind of took it for granted that they were just going to win every ruck and Peter O’Mahony when he sees an opportunity he goes for it.
“I think he gets over the ball very well and I thought all round today he had a great game. When the captain is winning turnovers like this it definitely gives the team a lift.”
5:17 Highlights from Melbourne where Ireland resisted a late fightback from the Wallabies to level the series ahead of the third Test in Sydney
Ireland responded to that Beale try with a score from winger Andrew Conway and Johnny Sexton kept the scoreboard ticking over with a series of penalties.
But Australia made the most of the few opportunities that came along and were awarded a penalty try against the run of play in the second quarter.
However, Ireland surged again after the interval with Keith Earls denied before Tadhg Furlong muscled over for explosive effort. It was the contest’s critical score, but Ireland had to endure a nervy finish after substitute tight-head Taniela Tupou crossed to set up a frantic finish.
Australia vs Ireland
June 23, 2018, 10:45am
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Looking ahead to next weekend’s series decider in Sydney, Ferris said he expects Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to now throw the proverbial kitchen sink at Australia in an effort to secure victory.
“Some of the guys last week got game time, Iain Henderson, the likes of Devin Toner if he has picked up a knock, Iain Henderson can come straight back in and Scannell as well in the front row.
“Patching, gluing guys up, it’s going to be difficult but it’s the last match of the season you put out the strongest team you possibly can and try and win the series.”