Stop Pooper, stop Wallabies: O'Mahony

by Sam Phillips

Ireland have zeroed in on stopping the Wallabies' world's best back row, as Ireland skipper Peter O'Mahony put it, as they strive for their first win in Australia in 39 years.

The stand in Ireland skipper couldn't have spoken higher of star Wallabies pair Michael Hooper and David Pocock, who, along with debutant Caleb Timu, form an intimidating back row.

"Obviously the back row that they've got which obviously I'm direct opposition with - Pocock, Hooper, probably one of the best if not the best back row in the world," O'Mahony said.

"That in itself is an incredible challenge for us.

"I think they're a breakdown threat but not just that - they're ability to carry ball, they're general rugby agility is second to no back row in the world as well.David Pocock forms one third of a strong Wallabies back row. Photo: Walmsley"Their passing skills make them two complete rugby players and they've been around for a long, long time.

"They have a huge amount of consistency there, they have experience and that's something that will stick with them tomorrow."

Limiting the impact Pooper have at the breakdown, as well as earning honours at set piece time, will allow the visitors to stunt the Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale led attack, according to O'Mahony.

"It starts with their set piece, which has been very strong for them," he said.

"Scrum and maul, lineout, obviously they're strike plays are very impressive and certainly if you don't stop their breakdown speed, it's something that if you get on the backend of it, it's very hard to stop.

"That's what they're looking for with the width of their game so certainly, it's an area that we're going to have to try and contain and stop their strike plays."Kurtley Beale will have plenty of firepower outside him. Photo: WalmsleyShould the Australians work their way on top in those departments, O'Mahony said the threats Foley and Beale have outside them would prove very tough to stop.

"I think when they get the ruck speed that they want, the width that they play with and with guys like Genia and Foley running the halves, the strikers that they have picked in their backline are incredible," O'Mahony said.

"Haylett-Petty, Folau, Koroibete, these guys are incredibly dangerous with quick ruck speed and quick ruck ball and their ability to strike from anywhere on the pitch is hugely challenging.

"You add that with the physicality that Australia bring and I don't think a huge amount of people have been talking about it but they're one of the most physical teams in the world.

"That's why they're one of the top teams in the world.

"That mix is incredibly hard to stop when they get quick ball."

The Wallabies take on Ireland in a three-Test series kicking off at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday June 9, at 8:05pm AEST. Buy tickets here.