“New Zealand are not the standout like years gone by. South Africa are now; I think we all had that feeling, it was coming, at the right time. Just because I know (Michael) Cheika, Australia will get their act together but there is only so much they can do and they have a lot of issues.
Question marks may remain over his hamstring ahead of Saturday’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Edinburgh but there is no doubting Joey Carbery’s allegiance to Munster with confirmation yesterday that the out-half has signed a two-year contract extension that will see him remain with the province until June 2022.
South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus had exaggeratedly suggested he could be looking for a new job if his side had lost to the All Blacks on Saturday, instead a 36-34 win showed his team were moving the right way towards next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Michael Cheika still adores Johnny Sexton and the Leinster veterans he coached to a Heineken Cup victory in 2009 but the love-in with a player he calls “the maestro” will have to go on hold tomorrow as Australia attempt to close out their Test series with Ireland.
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.
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.
Joe Schmidt described choosing the 32 players he will take to Australia next month as the most difficult process of his tenure as Ireland head coach but it is clear he has selected a squad with a series victory over the Wallabies at the top of his priority list.
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