Picturedabove: Welcome to Lansdowne Road in November! Benn Robinson, JoshValentine, who are both replacements for Sunday's Test match, andstarting full-back Chris Latham feel the cold as they wait for theofficial Wallaby squad photograph to be taken.
Lathamwill be making his sixth appearance against Ireland and having scoredfour tries in previous games against the men in green, the Queenslandlegend 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'llbe looking forward to kicking off their season with a couple of goodwins, and they'll want to carry on their performance and the win fromlast week. We've got to make sure we can stop that and continue our own good roll."
Chris Latham, Mark Gerrard and Phil Waugh clownaround at the Dublin 4 stadium as they shudder in the windy conditions.The Waugh v David Wallace showdown at openside will be critical as bothsides look to get a stranglehold on possession, and the Wallabies arehopeful 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'dlike. 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. Waughadded: "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'sa huge game.
"There's two Tests to go on this tour (the Wallabies face Scotland nextweekend) and it's important for us to win both of those. This iscertainly going to be the hardest of the two."
Josh Valentine andthe Wallabies are not ready to throw in the towel just yet. AlthoughValentine the Queensland Reds pivot, who has signed for the Waratahsfor 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 revealedin his tour diary on rupa.com.au: "Being the normal smartarse mosthalf-backs are, Josh decided he would spice up the bidding by addinghimself into the auction with a single joke bid. However little did herealise the other bidders had reached their limits and he was theunexpected winner.
"Abemused Miss Ireland couldn't quite understand why the successfulbidder was so horrified while his friends had fallen to the floor instreams of laughter!" So if you see Mr. Valentine hurrying out of thestadium on Sunday, you know what he's up to - he's after his money'sworth!
Matt Giteau, 24, has been singled out by Eddie O'Sullivan as
"Ithink Peter Stringer has about 70 Test caps, so that's a lot ofexperience. To break up his combination with Ronan O'Gara is a bigcall."
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.
Thenoted outside centre said: "My experience at 12 is reasonably limitedat 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, butnever 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 firstreceiver when that needs to happen. That's something as a back line wehave 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."
TheWallabies show a quick turn of pace as they head for the confines oftheir dressing room at Lansdowne Road. Waratahs flanker Rocky Elsom, whois seen above receiving treatment from physio Cameron Lillicrap, backed up Waugh's claims thatgetting to Ronan O'Gara will be a key feature of the Aussies' game plan.
Hesaid: "If O'Gara's getting disrupted ball, then more than likely it'sgoing to be a s**t pass. We can definitely put pressure on at thebreakdown, which has a pretty big effect on what sort of pill he'sgetting.
"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 Australiaon Sunday afternoon. He was on the pitch when six penalties from theboot of Ronan O'Gara saw Ireland to a prized 18-9 win over theWallabies in November 2002.
Lookingback at that game, Mortlock admitted: "I did play in that game, and itwas 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-upat Lansdowne Road on Saturday morning. Replacement hooker Moore, whoplays 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 ashis rugby role model, and as a Blackburn Rovers supporter he will besearching out the result of their Premiership encounter with Tottenhamafter Sunday's showdown at Lansdowne Road.
**All photos by Morgan Treacy of Inpho Photography**