10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Pictured above: Welcome to Lansdowne Road in November! Benn Robinson, Josh Valentine, who are both replacements for Sunday's Test match, and starting full-back Chris Latham feel the cold as they wait for the official Wallaby squad photograph to be taken.
Latham will be making his sixth appearance against Ireland and having scored four tries in previous games against the men in green, the Queensland legend is sure to be a marked man at Lansdowne Road.
Admitting that June's Test victory over the Irish in Perth will have little bearing on Sunday's clash, Latham said: "It's a case of different time, different occasion and different place. We're coming off the back of a long season, and Ireland are just starting into theirs.
"They'll be looking forward to kicking off their season with a couple of good wins, and they'll want to carry on their performance and the win from last week. We've got to make sure we can stop that and continue our own good roll."
Chris Latham, Mark Gerrard and Phil Waugh clown around at the Dublin 4 stadium as they shudder in the windy conditions. The Waugh v David Wallace showdown at openside will be critical as both sides look to get a stranglehold on possession, and the Wallabies are hopeful of putting pressure on Ireland's playmarker Ronan O'Gara.
Waratahs flanker Waugh said: "The more we can slow the ball down for O'Gara to get it, then the more pressure he'll be under. So it's more about dominating the breakdown and, if we do that, the quality of ball is not going to be as good as he'd like. We'll certainly be trying to put a lot of heat on."
Australian scrum half Matt Giteau and his back-up on the bench, Josh Valentine, have a chat before the squad photograph is set up. Waugh added: "It's a big Test match and Ireland are obviously in good form. They've got the best team they can possibly pick on the field, so it's a huge game.
"There's two Tests to go on this tour (the Wallabies face Scotland next weekend) and it's important for us to win both of those. This is certainly going to be the hardest of the two."
Josh Valentine and the Wallabies are not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Although Valentine the Queensland Reds pivot, who has signed for the Waratahs for 2007, did get cold feet during the week when his 'joke' bid at a charity auction in the Aussies' team hotel won him a date with Miss Ireland Sarah Morrissey.
Prop Al Baxter revealed in his tour diary on rupa.com.au: "Being the normal smartarse most half-backs are, Josh decided he would spice up the bidding by adding himself into the auction with a single joke bid. However little did he realise the other bidders had reached their limits and he was the unexpected winner.
"A bemused Miss Ireland couldn't quite understand why the successful bidder was so horrified while his friends had fallen to the floor in streams of laughter!" So if you see Mr. Valentine hurrying out of the stadium on Sunday, you know what he's up to - he's after his money's worth!
Matt Giteau, 24, has been singled out by Eddie O'Sullivan as possibly the biggest threat to Ireland on Sunday. Ahead of only his third Test as a half-back, Giteau admitted his surprise as finding Isaac Boss' name on the Irish teamsheet. He said: "I was expecting to face (Peter) Stringer. It was a surprise but Isaac Boss is obviously a good player. He's played Super 12 (with the Wellington Hurricanes) so we know a little bit about him.
"I think Peter Stringer has about 70 Test caps, so that's a lot of experience. To break up his combination with Ronan O'Gara is a big call."
Wycliff Palu with Australian coach John Connolly head for the dressing room after posing for the squad photograph. Connolly's tour captain is centre Stirling Mortlock, who will be starting his first Test match in the number 12 jersey on Sunday.
The noted outside centre said: "My experience at 12 is reasonably limited at this level. I might have played there through injury during games, and in a couple of Super 12 games in the past I've started there, but never a Test.
"Personally I don't think it's too much of an adjustment. It means that I have to put a bit more emphasis on being the first receiver when that needs to happen. That's something as a back line we have to focus on anyway. The main thing is making sure that defensively, as a unit at 10, 12 and 13, we work together because we haven't started as a combination."
The Wallabies show a quick turn of pace as they head for the confines of their dressing room at Lansdowne Road. Waratahs flanker Rocky Elsom, who is seen above receiving treatment from physio Cameron Lillicrap, backed up Waugh's claims that getting to Ronan O'Gara will be a key feature of the Aussies' game plan.
He said: "If O'Gara's getting disrupted ball, then more than likely it's going to be a s**t pass. We can definitely put pressure on at the breakdown, which has a pretty big effect on what sort of pill he's getting.
"He's a terrific kicker and he's going to be a pretty big part of their game."
Stirling Mortlock, the Brumbies skipper, will be making his 53rd appearance for Australia on Sunday afternoon. He was on the pitch when six penalties from the boot of Ronan O'Gara saw Ireland to a prized 18-9 win over the Wallabies in November 2002.
Looking back at that game, Mortlock admitted: "I did play in that game, and it was a wet and windy battle. The result could have gone either way but Ireland's ability to play consistent rugby in the wet was the difference. We have really taken that on board.
"In the Northern Hemisphere teams are used to that (playing in strong winds and rain), so we have to step up as regards our decision-making and our kicking game. You also have to take advantage of opportunities when they arise, as there aren't that many," he added.
Stephen Moore, Wycliff Palu and Phil Waugh warm-up at Lansdowne Road on Saturday morning. Replacement hooker Moore, who plays for the Queensland Reds, was born in Saudi Arabia to Irish parents. The 23-year-old spent some of his childhood in Galway before his family emigrated to Australia in 1988.
He cites Keith Wood as his rugby role model, and as a Blackburn Rovers supporter he will be searching out the result of their Premiership encounter with Tottenham after Sunday's showdown at Lansdowne Road.
**All photos by Morgan Treacy of Inpho Photography**