By Martin Breheny
DUBLIN — The Irish rugby tour to Australia took a serious downward turn in Sydney last Saturday as New South Wales easily beat Ireland, 39-24, in a game that left coach Warren Gatland with some severe defensive headaches as heprepares for the first test against the Wallabies next Saturday.
The Irish camp tried to be upbeat afterward, dwelling on any positives they could find, but the truth was that once New South Wales pressed the accelerator in the second half, Ireland were overwhelmed. Ireland trailed by 13-10 at halftime, but the Aussies took over from there on, with winger Matt Dowling scoring four tries.
Ireland1s try scorers were Conor O1Shea, Ciaran Scally and Matt Mostyn, but they were no more than small beacons on a dark day for Irish rugby. The new Irish center, Brian O’Driscoll, was one of the few tourists to impress but his debut was ruined by a leg injury which leaves him doubtful for the test match on Saturday.