The Wallabies continue their spring tour of Great Britain with a test against Ireland at Aviva Stadium on Sunday morning.
Ireland: Rob Kearney; Andrew Trimble, Jared Payne, Garry Ringrose, Keith Earls; Paddy Jackson, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip, Sean O’Brien, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best, Jack McGrath.
Australia: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Reece Hodge, Henry Speight, Bernard Foley, Will Genia; Dean Mumm, Michael Hooper, David Pocock, Rob Simmons, Rory Arnold, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio.
There have been 32 tests played between these two nations with Australia holding a clear advantage having won 21 to Ireland’s 10 victories, while one game has been drawn. Honours have been split evenly in the last seven games, with both sides recording three wins apiece, while one game has been drawn. Ireland won the last encounter in 2014 at this venue 26-23.
Australia’s spring tour campaign got off to a great start with a comprehensive 32-8 victory over Wales. They followed up this victory with a very hard fought and somewhat lucky 23-22 win over a spirited Scotland outfit. The Wallabies continued their winning form with a 25-23 over the always powerful French team. However a week later, Australia found themselves on the receiving end of an embarrassing 19-11 loss against the French Barbarians.
Ireland are now ranked fourth in the world, recently jumping past South Africa courtesy of some stellar efforts in the past few weeks. After beating South Africa, Ireland ended the New Zealand winning streak with an emphatic 40-29 victory in front of 62,300 fans in America at the start of the month. It was Ireland’s first win over the All Blacks in their 28 games since 1905. A week later, Ireland hammered Canada 52-21. Last week New Zealand got their revenge courtesy of a tough 21-9 victory.
Pocock & Simmons v O’Brien & Toner – The Wallabies have picked a side heavily focussed on winning line outs, an area they have struggled with and also one that Ireland have been very impressive with of late.
This is going to be a very tough battle between the third and fourth best sides in the world. Form indicates that Ireland should be more than a threat, they are a very real chance of winning here. This will go down to the wire. Expect plenty of penalty goals to be taken if the opportunities present themselves.