Ireland, despite their good wins over Argentina and France, will go into tonight's game very much the underdog against an Australian side who have several players well experienced through their involvement in the Super 12.
Flanker Lei Tomiki made his Super 12 debut earlier this year, taking over from the injured Phil Waugh when NSW Waratahs played the Crusaders and hooker Stephen Moore, born in Saudi Arabia to Irish parents, made his Super 12 debut for the Queensland Reds in the game against the Northern Bulls in Pretoria.
The Aussie backline includes two players, Josh Valentine and Cameron Shepard (11 Super 12 caps with the Waratahs) who were in the squad last year that lost to New Zealand in the final in Oxford.
Full-back Valentine captained the Australia Schoolboys in 2001, made his Super 12 debut for the Queensland Reds on his 20th birthday earlier this season when he opposed George Gregan and has since added 14 more caps and scored two tries.
But forgetting all the gloss and glitter that attends the Aussies, and going on games played so far, there will be little to choose btween Ireland and Australia this evening.
Ireland opened their campaign with a 43-5 win over Tonga, followed by a 26-22 win over Argentina and then that 27-19 win over France to qualify for this game tonight.
Australia on the other hand, put 64 points on Tonga without reply, beat Argentina 41-3 and in the opener needed a late converted try to oust the French 25-24.
It's the relative comparison of the Argentine and French games that makes Ireland very dangerous opposition for Australia. To be more precise, it's the French game form that points to Ireland having a great shot at a final spot.
Australia had to come from behind twice to beat the Frenc, Tomiki geting the late winner.
When Ireland played France, with a semi-final place the prize for the winner, the Irish controlled the game from start to finish. They too went behind, just before half time, but once they went back into the lead mid-way through the second half with a try from Paul McKenzie, such was their control, there was only ever going to be one winner. The French scored a late try that only served to put a healthy hue on the scoreline from their point of view.
Coach McDermott, has kept changes to a minimum with McKenzie the only change so far from the side that started in the opener and that as a result of an injury to Ulster flyer Tommy Bowe who damaged a shoulder in the game against Argentina.
All in all it's been a marvellous campaign and McDermott and his management team, Pat Murray (assistant coach) and manager David Haslett deserve the height of praise for what's been achieved so far.
However, as far as Haslett is concerned it's a question of Phase one completed.Phase two begins this evening.
15 - Andrew Finn (Dolphin) 14 - Richard Lane (UCC)13 - John Hearty (Blackrock College)12 - Glen Telford (Dungannon)11 - Paul McKenzie (Loughborough University)10 - Gareth Steenson (Queens University)9 - Tomas O'Leary (Cork Constitution)1 - John Wickham (Clontarf)2 - Denis Fogarty (Cork Constitution)3 - Declan Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins)