June 9 (Reuters) - Ireland’s 18-9 defeat by Australia in the opening test of their three-match series was closer than the scoreline suggested and the visitors had reason to feel hard done by some refereeing decisions, coach Joe Schmidt said on Saturday.
The Six Nations champions’ loss in Brisbane’s Lang Park was their first in 13 matches. It also meant that they have not beaten the Wallabies in Australia since 1979.
“It was a pretty close affair,” Schmidt told Sky Sports. “I thought we dealt okay, but one of the frustrating things, is they often took out our support player, so then we were a bit slow at the ruck, and then the whole thing gets slowed down.
“A couple of times, we were five meters out and got called for knock-ons that looked like pretty clear infringements on replay when we were looking at them.”
Schmidt, however, said the defeat had the potential to fire up his team ahead of tests in Melbourne and Sydney over the next two weekends.
“It is building for a combative and competitive series, we just have to get on the right side of the scoreboard next week,” Schmidt added.
“I thought our line-out was good and we put good pressure on them but I thought at scrum time we did not get what we were looking for so we have to work on that.
“A couple of times we opened them really well but at the same time they got through us.” (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru Editing by Christian Radnedge)