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Ton-up O'Driscoll denies Wallabies in Dublin

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll was his team's hero in front of a bumper crowd in Dublin.
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll was his team's hero in front of a bumper crowd in Dublin.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ireland snatch a 20-20 draw at home to Australia with captain Brian O'Driscoll's late try
  • The center celebrated his 100th rugby international appearance in front of 74,000 people
  • Ronan O'Gara kicked conversion from underneath the posts to level in last action of match
  • The touring Wallabies had led 20-13 with 18 minutes to go at Dublin's Croke Park
RELATED TOPICS
  • Brian O'Driscoll
  • Ireland
  • Australia
  • Rugby
  • Sports

(CNN) -- Ireland snatched a 20-20 draw at home to Australia as captain Brian O'Driscoll celebrated his 100th rugby international appearance with the match-saving try in Dublin on Sunday.

The Wallabies had looked set for a second successive victory on their northern hemisphere tour after taking a 20-13 lead through captain Rocky Elsom's 62nd-minute try in front of 74,000 people at Croke Park.

But the Irish were rewarded for a spell of late dominance as center O'Driscoll went over the try line underneath the posts and Ronan O'Gara equalized with the conversion in the last action of the match.

"I'm pleased we were rewarded for showing the bottle to stick with them until the death and grind out a draw," O'Driscoll said. "We tried a lot of things. Not everything stuck but plenty of things did. If you don't try these things you don't get better.

"We'll all be better for having played together. It's difficult to click when you haven't played together for six months. "Australia have played a lot recently and for the most part we did reasonably well."

Australia coach Robbie Deans was disappointed his side could not hold on following last week's 18-9 victory against England.

"It was clearly a game we could have and should have won. The fact Ireland were still within seven points near the end was the critical element," he said.

"We played enough rugby and had enough possession and opportunities to get beyond that, but didn't do it. When you leave the door ajar to a team that has the maturity, belief and persistence of Ireland, they'll come back and save their skins.

"Ireland escaped with a draw. It was only in the last seconds of the game they were able to level with us, so we are frustrated. There's no doubt Ireland were a step up from England. We stepped up our performance."

It was clearly a game we could have and should have won
--Australia coach Robbie Deans

Australia led from just the third minute when a poor pass by O'Gara saw O'Driscoll swamped by tacklers, and winger Drew Mitchell pounced on the loose ball to score.

Matt Giteau added the extras before O'Gara landed his first penalty to reduce the deficit, then the visitors had No. 8 Wycliff Palu sin-binned for illegally flattening Rob Kearney.

With another penalty apiece, it was 10-6 at halftime to the Wallabies, which Giteau extended with another three-pointer following his second missed attempt.

But Six Nations champions Ireland leveled as O'Gara converted Tommy Bowe's try as the winger wriggled over the line after some blockbusting runs by his forwards.

Elsom barged over in the left corner and Giteau converted to re-establish the Australians' seven-point buffer, while Bowe was denied a second try by the video referee with two minutes to go before O'Driscoll saved Ireland.