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O'Gara dumped to Ireland bench

22/06/2010 05:00:01 PM Comments (0)

It's been a long 31 years since Ireland last tasted success over the Wallabies on Australian soil but they have gone back to the future to end the frustrating drought.

Irish coach Declan Kidney showed little sentiment on Tuesday by dumping veteran five-eighth Ronan O'Gara to the bench for his 100th Test for his country.

Just like 1979, when the unheralded Ollie Campbell replaced established playmaker Tony Ward and kicked the men in green to a record 27-12 victory in Brisbane, a rookie five-eighth is plotting to upset the Australians.

Jonathan Sexton showed enough smarts and skill off the bench in 14-man Ireland's 62-28 Test loss to the All Blacks, before starring in their 31-28 defeat to the NZ Maori to demand the surprise call-up.

The tourists want to move with the times and play a more expansive, ball-in-hand style than what the more predictable but reliable O'Gara delivers.

Skipper Brian O'Driscoll said Leinster teammate Sexton would relish the opportunity to try and attack the Wallabies at their own game.

"He's a big, physical guy and a smart footballer too who likes to take the ball to the line," the centre great said.

"He is a good passer and has the mindset to run the ball where possible.

"It's great to have two 10s who are the calibre we do have."

Campbell is something of a mentor to Sexton, who led Ireland to a 20-16 Six Nations victory over England in his first run-on start this year.

"I know Ollie from back in Dublin and we keep in touch," the 24-year-old said.

"I wonder if he'll text me now to give me advice as to how to take the Wallabies down.

"Our team manager Paul McNaughton was in that last team that won down here and keeps reminding us."

Campbell, who produced an 18-point haul for the underdogs at Ballymore in 1979, didn't miss a kick in the 2-0 clean sweep of the Wallabies back then.

"Hopefully I'll do the same in one," said Sexton, a streaky kicker who nailed his first 11 shots at goal in international rugby before going off the boil.

Kidney has also surprised by dropping inside centre Gordon D'Arcy in favour of Paddy Wallace.

While Australia are struggling with injuries, the Irish have more problems with 13 of the 36 men they have used in the last year unavailable for the last Test of their season.

The list includes seven back-rowers, as well as the suspended Jamie Heaslip who was red-carded for kneeing Richie McCaw in New Plymouth, prompting a debut for No.8 Chris Henry.

O'Driscoll scored a last-gasp try to draw the last encounter 20-all with Australia at Croke Park in November, ending the Wallabies' Grand Slam dreams, and is confident of a breakthrough win Down Under.

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