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Saturday 10 December 2016

Captain Moore all the merrier for seeing his Irish family

Stephen Moore
Stephen Moore

Irish-born captain Stephen Moore will earn his 116th cap this evening to join Nathan Sharpe as Australia's most capped forwards.

Quite an accomplishment for the son of Tuam, who left Ireland as a five-year-old, to make his way in the world under the guidance of his Galway father Tom and Mayo mother Maureen.

"It's a busier week than usual," he said. "There's lots of people to catch up with and I tried to do that on Wednesday.

"I've grown up not seeing most of my cousins for most of my life. For mum and dad, it is extra special and dad will be in the crowd tomorrow.

"That's something that means a lot to me," he said.

Back to the matter at hand, the Australians are close to the end of their international season and they have been on an upward curve. Michael Cheika has been able to rebuild confidence on the back of wins over Wales, Scotland and France.

Hooker Moore was careful in his assessment of what they will face before completing their European tour in England.

"We always knew these two games would be the biggest challenges of the tour," he said.

Meanwhile, Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell is in no danger of under-estimating Australia.

"Defence is all about attitude. Everyone knows that," said Farrell.

"Against sides that are very clever attacking-wise, you've got to be good decision-makers as well.

"It isn't just about energy and physicality. It's about know-how.

"As attacks keeps improving, as it is in my opinion in world rugby, defence needs to try and stay one step ahead of the game.

"We have played some pretty stern opposition over the last six months.

"We need to be at our best to make sure we get over the line."

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