Australia coach Michael Cheika reveals how he tried to tempt Sean O'Brien away from Leinster
Australia are on a roll.
The Wallabies have so far swept aside Wales, Scotland and most recently France, with a dramatic 25-23 triumph over 'Les Bleus' in Stade de France on Saturday.
They will be looking to make it four wins from four on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium and will welcome back the influential Michael Hooper for their penultimate Autumn series clash with Ireland.
However, coach Michael Cheika knows that this will be no mean feat.
"We will have our work cut for us as they [Ireland] got closer to the All Blacks in those two games than we did in the three we played against New Zealand."
These three losses against their Southern Hemisphere rivals during the Rugby Championship began with a 42-8 humbling in Sydney, a 29-9 defeat in Wellington and most recently a 37-10 loss in Eden Park, Auckland.
In Ireland's two recent games against the All Blacks, they have conceded an average of 25 points. This is in contrast to Australia's average concession of 36 points in their three Rugby Championship encounters with Steve Hansen's men.
You had to feel for him https://t.co/cndjHZHjdv
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Not only does this statistic worry Cheika, but he will also be concerned by the form shown by one of his former players, Sean O'Brien, in Ireland's most recent match against the All Blacks.
"He's a good lad and I won't lie about it I tried to sign him when I moved to Stade Francais. He is a quality player and I feel for him a bit because of the number of injuries he has had."
With 36 metres made, three defenders beaten and 20 carries in total, O'Brien's former coach was not surprised with how up-to-speed the Carlow man was after a lengthy injury layoff.
"But like a thoroughbred racehorse who comes back from injury and wins every time he returns, he plays like he hasn't been away. He is straight in there."
In fact, the Wallabies will be welcoming back their own talismanic openside, Michael Hooper, for the clash against Ireland.
It was a much-deserved rest for Hooper, who so far in 2016, has only missed 42 minutes of rugby across 27 matches, including 15 games for the NSW Waratahs and 12 test matches for the Wallabies.
The Aussie vice-captain's dynamic ball carrying will be a major threat to Ireland on Saturday as they aim to maintain their quest of achieving a Grand Slam over the Home Nations for the first time since 1984.
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