Ireland face Australia this weekend in their first test match of the three on their tour of Australia.
This is a huge game for both teams in preparation for next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan. Following their Six Nations victory, Ireland will be hoping to keep their 12 game winning streak running and prove their dominance against a strong Australian side. Australia, who will certainly be one of the favourites for next year’s World Cup will be looking to take a huge scalp against Europe’s best side and prove their dominance on the world stage yet again.
Keith Wood and Matt Williams joined Joe on OTB to preview the big game while Matt also gives an insight into the current state of Australian rugby.
Keith said: "I want to see a really good performance. I see a performance in this Irish team. I love that Conor Murray is with Joey Carbery. I actually can’t get over the amount of rugby these guys have played in the last two years. I would love to see no tour after the Lions tour. It takes so much out of them physically and mentally.
"The last 6 weeks my heart went out to Tadhg Furlong and CJ Stander. The guy has run himself to a standstill. If they turn up fresh they’ve a better chance of winning. A lot of guys who are having a break are the guys who aren’t playing at the weekend. Ireland win the test 2-1."
Matt Williams also gave his view on the showdown, commeting, "I think at international level it will be very popular, especially with the Irish community over here. I think Australia are gonna come out like you won’t believe. I think the Wallabies are very angry. I thought Ireland would win but I think Australia will. If Ireland win this weekend it would be historic. I think Ireland have done enough over the last two years to lose this test and still not be written off for the World Cup.
"Australian rugby and Irish rugby are very similar in terms of the stages. People just are not putting their kids into the sport. The perception is that rugby has more concussions than anywhere else and Mams are taking their kids out. The big problem for me in Australia is the schools and the numbers, especially in Sydney, are just evaporating at a rate of knots. Some of the great schools who have produced Wallabies have gone from six of seven teams in under age groups down to two or three teams."