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Ireland edge Wallabies to claim series win

NZ Herald Staff,
Publish Date
Sunday, 24 June 2018, 6:59AM
Ireland celebrate victory after winning the series. Photo / Getty
Ireland celebrate victory after winning the series. Photo / Getty

Refereeing controversies marred Australia's 20-16 defeat to Ireland, with the visitors claiming the series 2-1 to clinch the Lansdowne Cup.

Numerous big calls went against the Wallabies - including the sin-binning of Israel Folau in the first half and a penalty awarded against Tolu Latu in the dying stages - as Australia's inability to win a series decider since 2001 continued.

French referee Pascal Gauzere and television match official Ben Skeen left the record crowd of 44,085 at Sydney's Allianz Stadium seething after dubious decisions cost Australia dearly.

Even after the full-time siren there was controversy, as Skeen ruled no clear evidence that Irish winger Jacob Stockdale had touched a Bernard Foley pass that could have resulted in a matchwinning try but ended up in touch.

After several replays and discussion, Skeen told Gauzere he had no clear evidence to award a penalty, leading the referee to blow time as Ireland players jumped for joy.

It had followed Johnny Sexton's 79th minute penalty goal, the final scoring play of the game, after Gauzere penalised Latu for not releasing the tackled player before forcing a turnover. Replays showed David Pocock was the first tackler, not Latu.

Gauzere also ruled that replacement Wallabies halfback Joe Powell threw a forward pass to Taniela Tupou late in the game, another big call that upon replay looked 50-50.

Ireland remains No.2 in the world and capped off a remarkable season in which they won the Six Nations and did the Grand Slam in Europe.

For Australia, the narrow loss means they have not won a three-Test decider since the 2001 British & Irish Lions series.

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