A win this weekend and Ireland will have beaten the southern hemisphere's "Big 3" within six months

Valuable world ranking points are up for grabs as well

BY Simon Maguire 11:28 Wednesday 23 November 2016, 11:28 23 Nov 2016

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt ©INPHO/James Crombie

Ireland entertain Australia in Dublin this weekend and are on the brink of a historic hat-trick of wins.

Never before in Irish rugby history have the tean managed to beat the southern hemisphere's top three teams in the same year. 

A first win over the Springboks in South Africa in June was followed by the momentous victory of the world champions New Zealand a few weeks ago in Chicago. This has set Joe Schmidt's side up for a tilt at another landmark win.

The disappointment of not winning back-to-back against the All Blacks shows how far Schmidt has brought this Irish side and a win over Australia this weekend would cap off a remarkable six months in Irish rugby.

The Wallabies will arrive at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday on the back of a three match winning streak having beaten Wales, Scotland and France on their northern hemisphere tour so far.

The two sides have met 32 times in total with Australia winning 21, losing 10 and the record also features a solitary draw between the teams coming courtesy of a last minute Brian O'Driscoll try at Croke Park in 2009.

There are also valuable world ranking points on the line, particularly from an Irish viewpoint. The visitors sit in third spot almost five ranking points ahead of the Irish. A home win for 4th placed Irish would stretch their lead over 5th placed South Africa, regardless of their result in Wales.

Ireland will go into the match without the influential pairing of Jonathan Sexton and Robbie Henshaw. The last time the two sides met, Ireland won 26-23 in Dublin. 



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