AAP Rugby

Irish have energy for one final rugby push

By AAP Newswire

It has been a massive and sapping 12 months for Ireland's top rugby players, but finding extra legs of energy won't be an issue in the Test decider against Australia in Sydney.

A series-clinching win over the Wallabies on Saturday would cap off a spectacular season for Ireland, with the country currently enjoying top dog honours in the northern hemisphere.

Ireland supplied several players for the 2017 Lions tour of New Zealand and then won the 2018 Six Nations unbeaten, while Leinster added the PRO14 and Champions Cup to the nation's trophy cabinet.

"The boys at Leinster had an unbelievable season, they won everything they touched," Ireland No.8 CJ Stander said.

"From an international point of view coming from the grand slam, I think this will just top off our season."

South African-born Stander, who started the first two Tests against the Wallabies, doubts fatigue will be a factor for Ireland.

"I think the energy gets picked up to the end because there's one more to go, there's a big opportunity," he said.

"Playing-wise we've been well looked after as a few players had a few weeks off after the Six Nations and during the season with the clubs.

"Weeks like this the energy picks up. Everyone wants to play, everyone's fit and we're looking forward to the decider."

Stander felt Ireland needed to take more of their chances to hit the levels they reached in their all-conquering Six Nations campaign.

"Performance-wise, we're close to where we were during the Six Nations, but we're not up there yet," he said.

"I think there's a few chances as (head coach) Joe (Schmidt) mentioned we leave on the pitch, lost balls, set pieces that we don't get the ball we wanted."

"So I think there's a fair bit left in us to go out here and play the way we want to play as we did in the Six Nations earlier this year."