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Losing to Ireland would be a disaster for Australia says Plumtree

The Kiwi forwards coach believes Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie will have his troops charged for battle.

Australia's Israel Folau has a chuckle during training.
Australia's Israel Folau has a chuckle during training.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

JOHN PLUMTREE COMES across as an unassuming fellow who loves nothing better than a good lineout maul. The forwards coach played a new role today, however, as he faced the media and spooned an extra heap of pressure on the visiting Australians.

Speaking after this morning’s captains run at Lansdowne Road, Plumtree confirmed a clean bill of health for the Irish squad and praised forwards Devin Toner and Rory Best. He found time, too, to remind Australia that another loss on their end-of-season tour would lead to a frosty reception Down Under.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for Australia,” Plumtree began. “Like we’ve said all week, they are a side on an upward curve. You look at their results of later and they, obviously, would have been disappointed with the England game. We’ve got a lot of respect for this team and they’re pretty hard from playing South Africa and New Zealand in The Rugby Championship.”

He added, “They’re hardened by what they’ve been through [this year] and they won’t want to lose to us. After losing to England and beating Italy, it’d probably turn their trip into a little bit of a disaster. There’s a lot of pressure on them.

“On the same side, there’s a lot of pressure on us. We want to win; we’re at home.”

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Forwards coach John Plumtree speaking after Ireland’s captains’ run. INPHO/Dan Sheridan

After Ireland slowly went through the gears to beat Samoa last weekend, Plumtree expects ‘a massive step up’ in performance level from his players. “Going by the way the guys have prepared this week, ” he said, “you can see there is a totally different mindset. That comes because of the challenge… everything looks sharp, looks better.”

The former Sharks coach wants Ireland to bring that sharpness into the game right from the off. Plumtree feels the team was slow to get going against the Samoans. Ireland will look to ‘build some pressure, play in the right area of the field and send a little bit of doubt their way’.

The Irish coaching set-up recognise that this Wallaby squad have arrived with hope rather than swagger in their baggage. Plumtree and Schmidt will target the scrum and breakdown in the hope that Aussie doubts will fester at a sold-out Lansdowne Road.

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Patrick McCarry

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