Ahead of their clash at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, Ireland captain Paul O’Connell said that defeating Australia “would be brilliant”.
Ahead of their showdown at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday, Ireland captain Paul O’Connell admits that beating Australia “would be brilliant”.
The Irish are one win away from completing their first sweep of November Tests since 2006 which coincidentally was the last time they beat both South Africa – whom they dispensed 29-15 a fortnight ago – and the Wallabies which would be their seventh successive international victory.
However, lock O’Connell said that thoughts of completing the clean sweep – a second string Irish side thrashed Georgia 49-7 last Sunday – had not really entered their discussions before the game.
“It would be brilliant to beat a rugby superpower like Australia,” said the 34-year-old second-row.
“It would be great to get a win this weekend but we are not sitting around speaking about it. Instead we have been talking a lot about things we have to improve from the South Africa match.
“However, we were fairly well beaten by them last year (32-15 with the Wallabies scoring four tries to Ireland’s nil). That was very tough and definitely the toughest day we had yet under Joe Schmidt (Ireland coach).
“We weren’t in the right frame of mind then. They were so far ahead of us that they took us apart. This time round we are a lot more used to what Joe expects of us. We are further down the track but then again so are the Australians.”
O’Connell, who remarked it was irrelevant the Irish were now ranked third in the world rankings their highest since November 2006, said the Australians were still a formidable force despite the ructions of late that saw Ewen McKenzie be replaced by Michael Cheika.
“Reading what the Australian players have said Cheika has definitely stamped a few of his ideas on them already, and they appear to have adapted to it really well,” said O’Connell.
“Watching their match with France last Saturday (the French won 29-26) it was certainly for me the most intense match of November so far. They are great at physicality and matched the French there and also their line breaks at speed are extraordinary.
“The team don’t seem to be struggling with the change of coach. They have now had three games under him and appear to have gelled.
“They’re in a very good place.”
O’Connell said regarding his own future he had no idea where the story linking him with French club side Pau had come from – Midi Olympique had linked him with a move there and a reunion with former Munster coaches Simon Mannix and James Coughlan are there.
“I don’t know anything about it and I don’t know where it came from,” added the forward.
“I am contracted to the IRFU till 2016.”