Click here for more photos of the Ireland squad’s training session at Perth’s Wesley College on Thursday.
Pictured above: Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll leads the squad through some stretching at Perth’s Wesley College on Thursday.
Asked by the local media about the relative merits of the New Zealand and Australian back divisions, O’Driscoll said: “No discredit to the All Blacks, because you’d be a mad man to discredit them in any shape or form. But the Aussie backs are probably a little smarter than New Zealand’s.
“They tend to read the game extremely well and they work out early on where they think they might exploit you frailties. You have to keep mixing your own game up. Mix up your defence and your attack to keep them guessing.
“The second you get into a pattern is the time they start breaking you down.”
Ireland team doctor Gary O’Driscoll and coach Eddie O’Sullivan discuss the various bumps and bruises that the players have picked up on the tour Down Under.
O’Sullivan is expecting a battle on all fronts against the Wallabies on Saturday, with his backs and forwards in for a stern examination in their final game of the season.
He said: “In the last couple of years we’ve been a team that’s used our backs to get momentum. But Australia, for a while, became stagnant in both those departments. To their credit, they’ve gone back to where they’ve been good before, and that’s launching go-forward ball from back line attacks. They’re quite capable of breaking sides open from set pieces as we’ve seen.”
Hooker Jerry Flannery who has yet to face Australia in his short Test career. The Limerick man rumbled over for his second try in eight internationals last weekend against New Zealand.
John Hayes, Jerry Flannery and Marcus Horan get in some scrum practice ahead of the one-off Test match against Australia. Hayes and Horan propped down against the Wallabies for last November’s 30-14 defeat in Dublin, with Shane Byrne in at hooker.
A lone seagull makes his way across the field at Wesley College.
Ulster’s Neil Best beats Munster captain Anthony Foley to a lineout ball at training. Best will be making his fifth appearance for Ireland on Saturday. Three of the 27-year-old’s caps have come against New Zealand.
Donncha O’Callaghan out-jumps his Munster colleague Mick O’Driscoll at a lineout. O’Callaghan will round out the season winning his 27th cap for Ireland – Saturday’s Test match will mark only his 10th start in a green jersey.
**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**