Wallabies have strong foundations
Sat, 16 Nov 2013 07:45
It has been with our coach very impressive already what progress we have made
Wallabies captain Ben Mowen believes that they have built 'good foundations' under coach Ewen McKenzie.
They will be looking to register their first back-to-back victories of the year when they face Ireland in Dublin, following their comfortable victory over Italy last week.
Mowen - who has had a meteoric rise this year making his debut in the first Test with the British and Irish Lions and then named captain for the November internationals - accepted Ireland had had the better of recent matches against them, including a 15-6 victory in a 2011 World Cup pool match.
However, the big No.8, who has impressed both with his captaincy and his play in the Tests with England and Italy, said he and the team had studied the Irish in depth and would not be caught cold by them at Lansdowne Road.
"I wouldn't say they have a psychological hold over us," he said. "They do have history (Australia are bidding for their first win in Dublin since 2005) in recent times in our matches.
"We have done our homework on them and we know them well. They are very strong in the breakdown, very physical and play a skilful game.
"It is a massive test and they are a side we respect enormously."
Mowen said it was crucial to provide enough ball for their free-running backs, who have been largely responsible for a tally of 18 tries in their last four tests.
"We have to overpower them in the breakdown so we can provide a platform for our backs to get the possession and use the ball as effectively as they have been doing recently," he said.
Mowen, whose career has come on in leaps and bounds since joining the Brumbies coached by South Africa's 2007 World Cup winning coach Jake White, said the Wallabies were keen to beat the Irish to make it two successive wins, having dispensed with Italy 50-20 last Saturday.
"I think that under coach Ewen McKenzie (who replaced Robbie Deans when he was sacked after the series loss to the Lions) we have built really good foundations," he said.
"It's all about fighting your way back up to the top really and we are beginning to. I was really impressed with the way the lads stood up last weekend against Italy.
"Obviously you are never really happy until you become like the All Blacks and are winning all the time.
"However, with a new coach there is for us, like with Ireland and Joe Schmidt, a bedding in process but it has been with our coach very impressive already what progress we have made."
Mowen said that, along with his team-mates, he was glad it would be Irish icon Brian O'Driscoll's final match against them.
"Yup I will be glad to see the back of him.
"Hopefully we say farewell to him with a serious beating and then buy him a pint afterwards!"
Mowen will hope that he is rewarded more on the pitch than he has been in researching the background to his Irish heritage this week.
"I had fun looking into my Irish ancestry but I came up short because the guys were obviously real scallywags!"
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