Irish tackle galvanises Australia
Scott Gibbs' Lions Test hopes took a knock on this day in 1997
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Australia defeated Ireland 33-15 in the quarter-finals of the first World Cup, taking a 24-0 lead inside the first 26 minutes. The loss of Nick Farr-Jones, felled by a high tackle, in the opening minute appeared to spur the Australians into action and the Guardian noted they "made the Irish look old-fashioned, clumsy and slow". In the other quarter-final, France beat Fiji 31-16 in Auckland.
A fortnight before the Test series with South Africa, Martin Johnson's Lions lost the only provincial match of their tour, going down 35-30 against Northern Transvaal at the Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria. The loss was made all the worse by the fact that centre Scott Gibbs was cited and subsequently banned for striking Grant Esterhuizen during the game. Gibbs missed the tour match against Gauteng but returned to play a full part in the victorious Test series.
Wales suffered the first Test defeat of Warren Gatland's coaching reign. Shane Williams managed a brilliant try but Wales were outclassed 43-17 by South Africa, the reigning world champions, in Bloemfontein. Gatland's side were shorn of Grand Slam-winners Gavin Henson, Martyn Williams, Lee Byrne and Mike Phillips for the tour.
Clive Woodward scored two tries, converted one and kicked a penalty in the Lions 32-12 defeat of Transvaal at the Wanderers Ground in Johannesburg.
Wales beat a strong Wellington XV 14-6 in the last provincial match of their tour to New Zealand. Andy Leslie scored Wellington's try, while Chico Hopkins and Maurice Richards crossed for Wales and Keith Jarrett kicked three goals.
Scrum-half Dougie Morgan's place-kicking steered Scotland to an encouraging 36-25 win against Wellington at Athletic Park. He converted all three of his side's tries and landed six penalty goals.