Click here for photos from Friday’s kicking practice session and Ireland press conference at Lansdowne Road.
Pictured above: Ireland fly-half Ronan O’Gara fine tunes his line kicking at Lansdowne Road. The Munster man has fond memories of the last time Australia visited these shores in November 2002 – he kicked six penalties that day for an historic 18-9 win.
Ronan O’Gara poses for a kicking shot with photographers at Lansdowne Road. The 28-year-old has played three times against the Wallabies in his 53-Test career – scoring 29 points. He proved to be the match-winner against Australia in November ’02 (as mentioned above), kicked a penalty when coming on as a replacement for David Humphreys in the 45-16 defeat by Australia on the 2003 tour Down Under, and struck two penalties and a conversion in the agonising 17-16 RWC2003 loss, the following November.
Ronan O’Gara, who nabbed the man-of-the-match award after a dominant display at number 10 when the sides last met in the Dublin rain in November 2002. O’Gara said after the 18-9 success: “Everything worked for us on the day but I reckon we would have won as well if the weather was fine and the temperature much higher. We cannot blame or cannot claim anything because of the weather.”
Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan fields questions from reporters at today’s press conference. Since O’Sullivan began his reign against Wales in 2002, Ireland boast a 70.21% winning rate – that’s 33 wins from 47 Test matches.
Stand-in Ireland captain Simon Easterby, seated behind a poster of injured skipper Brian O’Driscoll, at today’s press conference. Flanker Easterby, 30, has played just once against Australia in his Test career – the RWC2003 Pool A game which saw Ireland pipped 17-16 at the Telstra Dome. Easterby is expecting another big back row battle tomorrow. He said: “On the floor, I thought we (the back row) competed very well against New Zealand, but in the loose we were probably outplayed. So, as a unit, that’s something that we’re going to have to address tomorrow. Australia are a little bit different to the All Blacks. They probably don’t have the ball-carriers that New Zealand have, but they could be a little bit better on the floor.
“But even though they’ve got two very good players on the deck – we’ve probably got three very good players on the floor. Still, across the board, we’ve got to be very strong in the ruck, and make sure that we don’t just leave it to the back rows.
“It will be a battle but it’s a battle that everyone must get involved in.”
**All photos by Lorraine O’Sullivan of Inpho Photography**