Ireland will face the Wallabies in a three-Test series next year, according to reports circulating this Tuesday.
The series, set to be played in June 2018, will be the last of its kind before the 2019 World Cup and the last before the new global rugby calendar kicks in. The three matches will be held in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Ireland will hold no fears against the green and gold after completing a rare Southern Hemisphere ‘treble’ last year, beating the big three of the All Blacks, South Africa and Australia in the same year.
In the process, Joe Schmidt’s men managed to snap the All Blacks’ 18-match winning run in Chicago as well as thwarting Michael Cheika’s hopes of a clean sweep against Northern Hemisphere sides.
The Wallabies have been undergoing a resurgence of late after a shaky start to the Rugby Championship, and a string of wins has seen them rise to number three in the world, one place ahead of Ireland.
Historically, the Wallabies have had the edge over Ireland, with 21 wins from 33 matches, although Ireland have won three of the last four games. The last time Ireland was victorious in Australia stretches back to the 27-12 win in 1979.
However, in the modern age, there is not much separating the two sides and the last meeting between the two sides at Aviva Stadium was an epic, ding-dong battle with the Irish team roaring out of the blocks with tries to Iain Henderson and Garry Ringrose but then gave up a 17-0 lead after three unanswered Wallaby tries.
A Keith Earls try with 15 minutes to play put the home team back in front and the injury-depleted side managed to hang on for a heroic victory 27-24. The two sides finished with three tries apiece and were separated by the nerveless kicking of fly-half Paddy Jackson.
The series will represent an excellent opportunity for the sides to size up each others’ development in preparation for the 2019 World Cup in Japan. In contrast to the last World Cup, Australia have avoided the ‘Pool of Death’ and have a fairly simple route through to the knockout stages, while Ireland got the slightly trickier task of beating Scotland and hosts Japan in Pool A.
Kaal Kaczmarek, Pundit Arena
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