IRELAND 24 AUSTRALIA 36
Ireland’s hopes of contesting the fifth place play-off at the Women’s Rugby World Cup were ended by a 36-24 defeat to Australia in Belfast.
The game was in the balance with the scores tied at 12-12 after 34 minutes.
But Australia powered away with 24 unanswered points either side of half-time.
Australia struck first through captain Sharni Williams’ eighth-minute try, but Ireland were ahead when Ailis Egan pounced from a rolling maul and Nora Stapleton converted.
Wing Alison Miller extended Ireland’s lead after jinking through the Wallaroos’ defence.
It was a level game when Sarah Riordan burst off the back of a scrum and Ashleigh Hewson converted.
Australia did not look back after that as prop Hilisha Samoa, flanker Millie Boyle try and wing Mahalia Murphy ran in tries and Hewson added three conversions and a penalty for an 11-point haul.
Ireland finished strongly when Sophie Spence and Paula Fitzpatrick claimed consolation tries in the final six minutes.
Ireland will now meet Wales or Canada on Saturday in the 7/8 place play-off, but more importantly, the winner secured an automatic place in the next World Cup.