Click here for photos of the Ireland squad’s training session at Wesley College in Perth on Tuesday.
Pictured above: Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll flings a pass out at training at Perth’s Wesley College on Tuesday. The Leinster centre has played Australia on four previous occasions for Ireland, scoring a try in the 2003 World Cup pool match in Melbourne.
O’Driscoll will captain Ireland for the 30th time at the Subiaco Oval on Saturday.
Brian O’Driscoll is at the centre of things during a training drill in Perth. The 27-year-old is moving in on Kevin Maggs’ record as Ireland’s most-capped centre. O’Driscoll will be gaining his 67th cap this weekend, Maggs is currently on 70.
Girvan Dempsey ties his laces during Tuesday’s session. The Leinster full-back will be keen to erase the memories of his last outing at the Subiaco Oval on Saturday. Dempsey was sin-binned for killing the ball and also missed out on a certain try as Australian out-half Elton Flatley produced a stunning last-gasp tackle during the Wallabies’ 45-16 victory over Ireland in June 2003.
Last November’s Test match at Lansdowne Road was Gordon D’Arcy’s only previous appearance against Australia. Back then he partnered debutant Andrew Trimble in Ireland’s midfield.
Bryan Young, Brian O’Driscoll, Shane Horgan, Gordon D’Arcy and Tommy Bowe on the burst at training. Ulster prop Young made his Test debut off the bench against the All Blacks last weekend.
In his diary for the Irish Rugby Supporters Club, Young wrote: “It has been great coming into the squad. I guess it is always at the back of your mind as a professional that you might get into the national team and having played in the ‘A’ side, I thought I would get my shout.
“Being in camp with people like Paul (O’Connell) and John (Hayes) has been great. You can learn a lot from them and measure yourself against their work rate.”
Paul O’Connell stretches at training at Wesley College.
Australian coach John Connolly rates the Munster lock very highly, but argues that Ireland are about more than just the talismanic duo of O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll. He said: “I think it is unfair to single these two guys (O’Connell and O’Driscoll) out, because in my view Ireland have at least six world class players in their ranks – that’s in addition to a host of other high quality players.
“I rate Donncha O’Callaghan, Gordon D’Arcy, Peter Stringer and Ronan O’Gara as world class as well. These guys have heaps of experience and all of them put in a huge amount of work in the series with the All Blacks. They’ve done the business over a considerable length of time, particularly the half backs. People don’t survive in international rugby for as long as they have unless they’re very, very good.”
**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**