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Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Friday, 25 June 2010 15:04 UK

Aussie skipper Rocky Elsom expects open Irish contest

International Test: Australia v Ireland
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Date: Sat, 26 June Kick-off: 1100 BST Coverage: Live on Sky Sports; score updates on BBC Sport website and mobile phones


Rocky Elsom and Jamie Heaslip
Rocky Elsom battles with Jamie Heaslip at Croke Park last November

Australia captain Rocky Elsom believes Saturday's contest against Ireland will be a free flowing contest despite both team's recent struggles.

The Aussies were beaten by England last weekend while Ireland were hammered by the All Blacks two weeks ago and then lost to the New Zealand Maori.

"I'd be surprised if the game doesn't open up a bit," said former Leinster favourite Elsom.

"Because we have similar styles, it's easier for that to happen."

Elsom added:"Except for a game in 2006, I haven't really played against Ireland in a game that hasn't been free flowing and attacking.

"It suits us too. We're under no illusions that our attacking game is when we're strongest, so we'll be looking to get into that."

As ever, Ireland coach Declan Kidney was playing his cards close to his chest about his team's game plan for Saturday's game in Brisbane.

"All players go into a game with a positive mindset to try to play and then it depends on the quality of ball that becomes available to the attacking side," said Kidney.

"I don't think it's any different to any other game. All 30 guys will go out and try to play and if there are spaces to play, then do it."

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The Aussies were edged out 21-20 by England last Saturday a week after comfortably beating the same opposition in Perth.

The two Tests against England summed up Australia's inconsistency in recent times and Robbie Deans' side go into Saturday's contest minus their entire first choice front row.

Australia had a nightmare in the scrum against England last weekend although they may have fewer problems against Irish trio Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Tony Buckley in Brisbane.

Veteran lock Nathan Sharpe was also a late withdrawal from the Australian side on Thursday after suffering a back injury in training.

Sharpe is replaced by Mark Chisolm while the two other changes from the defeat by England see Luke Burgess in for Will Genia at scrum-half and Adam Ashley-Cooper taking over from Digby Ioane on the wing.

Kidney's major selection calls for this weekend was opting for Jonathan Sexton at fly-half ahead of Ronan O'Gara and picking Paddy Wallace at centre ahead of Gordon D'Arcy.

Niall Ronan is retained at flanker after playing against the Maori while Ulster number eight Chris Henry will make his Test debut.

History will be against the Irish as they chase their first win of the current tour and Ireland have also not won on Australian soil since 1979.



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see also
Australia v Ireland (Sat)
22 Jun 10 |  Irish
Australia 20-21 England
19 Jun 10 |  English
Murphy says Irish have work to do
18 Jun 10 |  Irish
Irish fall to defeat by the Maoris
18 Jun 10 |  Irish
New Zealand Maori 31-28 Ireland
18 Jun 10 |  Irish
Murphy handed Ireland captaincy
15 Jun 10 |  Irish
Heaslip gets five-week suspension
13 Jun 10 |  Irish
Kidney pinpoints Ireland mistakes
12 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 66-28 Ireland
12 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union


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