Moore: We'll have to be at our best

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 18:15
Large stephen moore v scotland 2016 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Australia captain Stephen Moore says his side will have to be on their best form to beat Ireland on Saturday and keep their hopes alive of emulating the 1984 team and record a Grand Slam over the Home Nations.

The 33-year-old hooker was brought up in Ireland before he and his Irish parents emigrated to Australia.

He believes the Irish are too good a side to have started thinking about taking on Six Nations Grand Slam champions England in their final Test on Saturday week. Australia have so far beaten Wales and Scotland of the Home Nations and also France.

The Irish are bidding to become the first Northern Hemisphere side since England in 2003 to beat the three traditional Southern Hemisphere giants - South Africa in Cape Town in June, then the historic victory over world champions New Zealand in Chicago three weeks ago.

However, they are coming into the match having lost a couple of key players after a bruising second Test 9-21 defeat by the All Blacks last Saturday.  

"We always knew these games [Ireland and England] would be the biggest of the tour. When you get to this stage, it's a big challenge for our young boys to front up and confront the Irish.

"The way they played over the last month, they are playing as well as they have for a while. Even though they lost to the All Blacks last weekend their consistency was there. We will have to play our best game so far," said Moore.

Moore, who will become Australia's joint second-most capped player with 116 along with Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nathan Sharpe, said Ireland deserved the utmost respect and not to be considered the aperitif before the main course of England, who recorded an historic 3-0 whitewash over the Wallabies Down Under earlier this year.

"If we started thinking about England, firstly, we would come up short and secondly it would be disrespectful to Ireland," he added.

Moore, who paid tribute to opposite number Rory Best - who will win his 100th cap - saying he had the greatest respect for him, didn't think the absence through injury of flyhalf Jonathan Sexton and centre Robbie Henshaw would affect the Irish unduly.

"Sexton is a key player but [Paddy] Jackson has played a lot this year including the whole of the South Africa tour [three Tests which the Irish lost 1-2]. The players who have come in pose different threats and are highly capable.

"There is danger right across the team. No one player will be focussed on it will be just the team," he stated.

Agence France-Presse