AAP Rugby

Fear factor for Irish rugby team

By AAP Newswire

Ireland rugby captain Peter O'Mahony has revealed a "fear factor" for his side to contend with ahead of Saturday's third Test against the Wallabies.

Australia won the first match in Brisbane and the Six Nations champions took out the second in Melbourne, to set up a mouth-watering decider at Sydney's Allianz Stadium.

Ireland have won 13 of their past 14 Tests but backrower O'Mahony wasn't indulging in any pre-match bravado on the eve of the game.

"If we don't put on a good performance tomorrow we could be well beaten by 30, 40 points," said the flanker, who will win his 50th cap on Saturday.

'There is that fear factor for us, that if you're not good tomorrow they could put a lot of points on us.

"There's things we did a lot better last week that are going to have to step up again this week because we know how proud Australia are. Their record at home is incredible.

"A team of their calibre, their performance we''ve no doubt is going to be probably one of the best they've put in all year, so we know we have to match that and go beyond if we want to get a win tomorrow."

O'Mahony stressed Ireland could improve in a number of areas.

"I think our maul defence in general, our lineout defence and attack, we were probably outperformed in all three areas last week, " he said.

Australia scored three tries to two last week despite winning far less possession.

"One of their biggest assets is their ability to play rugby and to strike wide," O'Mahony said.

"30, 35 per cent possession and three tries is a stat that is very impressive, so we know how dangerous they are with the ball."

Ireland have already enjoyed one of their most glorious rugby years ever with a Six nations grand slam win but a first series victory in Australia in 39 years would also rank highly.

"To talk about winning a series over here is up there as one of the biggest challenges of world rugby," O'Mahony said.

He has switched from blindside flanker to openside and said it had been a while since he played in the latter position.

'I think at this level it doesn't change a huge amount," O'Mahony said.