Australia beat Ireland in Brisbane series opener

David Pocock, who sat out the 2017 season on a sabbatical, was a constant menace at the breakdown as the Irish fell to the first defeat in 13 Tests.

Australia’s Israel Folau in action during their Brisbane series opener against Ireland. Picture: @qantaswallabies/Twitter

SYDNEY - David Pocock returned to Test rugby with a bang on Saturday to help Australia to an 18-9 win over Six Nations champions Ireland in Brisbane and give the Wallabies a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

The openside flanker, who sat out the 2017 season 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 the 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.

Flyhalf Joey Carbery, getting a rare start ahead of Johnny Sexton, kicked three penalties for the Irish in a tight match that will only whet the appetite for the remaining Tests in Melbourne and Sydney.