Ireland ready for line-out battle against Australia in Test

Paul O'Connell in action against Australia in the 2011 World Cup

AUTUMN INTERNATIONAL SERIES: IRELAND V AUSTRALIA

Venue:
Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Date:
Saturday, 16 November
Kick-off:
17:45 GMT
Coverage:
Live on BBC2 NI, behind the Red Button, on the BBC Sport website. Also live on BBC Radio Ulster

Ireland forwards coach John Plumtree is confident that the Irish can compete with Australia's highly-rated line-out in Saturday's Test in Dublin.

The Wallabies boast aerial potency through former captain James Horwill and new skipper Ben Mowen.

However, Plumtree is confident Paul O'Connell and the giant Devin Toner can disrupt Australia's set-piece platform.

"Defence starts at first phase, so we've got to get our pods up and put pressure on them," said Plumtree.

"We got 100% in the line-out against Samoa, and there have been times in training when we've no opposition and we haven't done that.

"We'll always look to compete, absolutely. It will be a challenge for us to secure our first-phase ball, and we'll make sure it's a challenge for them as well."

Plumtree's comments suggest the 6ft 11in Toner is in line to partner O'Connell in the second row in Saturday's match, with Mike McCarthy and Ulster's Dan Tuohy the other lock options.

"I've been really impressed with Dev [Toner], both with his province and now for us here too.

"He's grown a lot physically, he might not look that strong but he certainly is, and his scrummaging is strong all the time.

"And of course he's a genuine line-out winner and a genuine line-out threat in terms of opposition ball.

"So he's a real asset and threat to have in your team."

Peter O'Mahony barrelled home for a try from an inch-perfect rolling maul in Saturday's 40-9 victory over the Samoans but Plumtree agrees it will be harder to reproduce a similar score against the Aussies.

"We know this weekend will be totally different in that area," he said.

"They'll have different techniques to stop the maul so if we want to repeat that then we'll have to raise the level again."

Plumtree backed lock O'Connell and flanker Sean O'Brien to step up their impact after beating recent injury problems.

He added: "I thought Sean played really well [against Samoa]. He looked like he really enjoyed himself out there.

"The plan with Paul was to give him 20 to 25 minutes, he got a few good carries and tackles.

"Both are pretty excited about this weekend now I would say."

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