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Australia vs Ireland
International, 16 June, 2018
|Fulltime - Australia 21, Ireland 26|
|Referee: Paul Williams|
|Touch judges: Pascal Gauzère & Marius van der Westhuizen|
|TMO: Ben Skeen|
Ireland have levelled their June series with the Wallabies at 1-all and set up a deciding match at Allianz Stadium next week with a five-point win over the Australians in Melbourne on Saturday night.
The Wallabies have a chance to secure the series win against world No.2 Ireland when they tackle the green machine in Melbourne tonight. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 8pm AEST.
Last week, Australia did an Ireland to Ireland, to beat Ireland.
With David Pocock leading the way, ably assisted by his throng of loose forwards and ball hungry front row – Australia were immense at the breakdown in an 80-minute performance that would have had Michael Cheika mighty pleased.
Indeed, at times, the Irish looked shell-shocked and unsure how to deal with the threat posed by Pocock and co.
In reality, it was a punch-for-punch affair that lays the foundation for a tasty narrative for game two tonight.
In team news, it’s a case of polar opposites.
Michael Cheika has named an unchanged 23 for the first time in his coaching tenure with the Wallabies. Speaking to Fox Sports earlier today, Michael Hooper said he was “excited at the opportunity” for his side to continue “growing and tightening up their combinations.”
Conversely, Irish head coach Joe Schmidt has rung in the changes to the side that was defeated in Brisbane last start.
The big-in is flyhalf Johnny Sexton, who will no doubt rudder his side’s attack in a much-needed boost to what was a relatively spluttering offensive outfit last week.
In other changes, Cian Healy comes into the starting XV alongside Devin Toner, Tadhg Furlong and Dan Leavy. Andrew Conway starts on the right win.
Where the game will be won
Who adapts the best?
Ireland need to find a way to get quicker ball at the breakdown, and to dispel the aerial threat of one Israel Folau. If they don’t do those things, they’ll lose this game, and the series. Sexton being back is a big, big boost – and they should be better for their extra week in the country.
I think it will be a belter. Don’t be surprised if it comes down to the last two minutes.
The odds have reversed from last week, but it’s still a bit of a coin-toss scenario. I like the confidence that Australia is playing with, though, and should just scrape home.
Australia by 3
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