Australia v Ireland – Test Preview
The Wallabies face their first test of the season as they come up against the newly crowned Six-Nations Champions, Ireland, at Suncorp Stadium this evening.
It is the first meeting between the two nations since November 2016, in which Ireland were victorious 27-24 in Dublin. However, history does not favour the Irish Down Under – they haven’t won a test against the Wallabies in Australia since June 1979.
The Wallabies managed 7 wins from their 14 test matches in 2017, the greatest of those a win against New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium. Michael Cheika and his men will be hoping for greater progress this year, as many players look to impress in light of the nearing World Cup in 2019.
For the Wallabies, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Caleb Timu will make their international debuts.
Ireland powered to the Six-Nations Championship earlier this year, sweeping all their Northern Hemisphere rivals. They are undoubtedly the worlds inform rugby side, currently on a 12-game winning streak that dates back over 12 months.
Ireland put a new look team forward for their opening test of the campaign, the headline change being Joey Carbery set to replace Ireland stalwart Johnny Sexton at flyhalf. Ireland will also be without skipper Rory Best, who succumbed to a hamstring injury and will miss the entire series in Australia.
Players to watch:
Israel Folau – Australia. Folau has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons so far in 2018 and will no doubt be eager to impress on the field.
Folau is a near constant attacking threat, with his ball carrying ability set to test the Irish defence. He scored 12 tries in 10 appearances for the Wallabies in 2017, taking his overall total to 32 tries in 62 tests.
James Ryan – Ireland. Ryan is yet to taste defeat in his international career, boasting a record of 23 wins from 23 outings for both country and province.
The 21-year old admits he still has a long way to grow in his rugby career, but is already being compared to John Eales, legendary Australian lock. What better place to cement that comparison than with a series win against the Wallabies in Australia?
Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.