When you put in the type of performance David Pocock delivered against Ireland last weekend, it becomes a little difficult to comprehend the Australian back-rower believed taking his one-year sabbatical from the game was something of a career risk.
This group of Irish players has made a habit of rewriting history over the course of the last few seasons, whether it has been beating New Zealand for the first time or recording a rare Grand Slam as they did in Twickenham back in March.
If Ireland were under any illusions about how tough the defensive challenge that awaits them at Suncorp Stadium this morning will be in this opening Test against Australia, then listening to Wallabies captain Michael Hooper yesterday will have removed any doubt.
Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony has backed fly-half Joey Carbery to take the huge opportunity handed to the 22-year-old when he starts the first Test against Australia on Saturday morning.
ichael Cheika may not have envied Joe Schmidt the task of telling Johnny Sexton he would be watching tomorrow’s kick-off at Suncorp Stadium from the bench but the man who made the call had no hesitation in handing Joey Carbery Ireland’s No. 10 jersey.
Eddie Jones was the one Australian everyone wanted to hear from after Ireland dispensed with his England side so seamlessly at Twickenham last week, but it would have been interesting to mine the thoughts of his compatriot Michael Cheika, who was among the 82,062 souls looking on from the stands, writes
Josh van der Flier could have kept mum but that would have meant surrendering to 36 hours or so of mental torture until the inevitable moment when Joe Schmidt stopped the tape and zeroed in on his botched offload deep in the New Zealand 22.