Leinster star Brian O’Driscoll will be looking to make it a lucky thirteenth appearance against the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday when he leads Ireland in search of their first Test win Down Under over Australia in 31 years.
You have to go back to 16 June, 1979, for the last time Ireland beat Australia on their home soil. Fergus Slattery’s men backed up their 27-12 win in the first Test with a 9-3 triumph at Sydney Cricket Ground with a team that included current Irish team manager, Paul McNaughton.
But since then the Irish have fallen to nine successive defeats on Aussie soil, but have notched two wins and a draw against them in Dublin
For the Irish skipper O’Driscoll, who won the first of his 102 Irish caps in Brisbane on 12 June, 1999, it will be a 13th outing against Australia for both Ireland and the British & Irish Lions. To date he has three times and draw to his credit.
As well as not winning in Australia for 31 years, Delcan Kidney’s Irish side haven't tasted victory this year since beating Wales in March. They were beaten at home by Scotland in their final RBS 6 Nations outing, then fell to the Barbarians in Limerick in an uncapped match, were given a record 66-28 beating by New Zealand and then went down to the New Zealand Maori in another uncapped game.
Kidney has made five changes to the side that lost in New Plymouth two weeks ago for the Aussie Test and O’Driscoll wants to sign off the season on a high note against an Australian team still smarting from their one point defeat by England in Sydney last weekend.
“We haven't won since 1979 – it's a long time to not pick up a result and it just shows the difficulty we've had down here,” said O’Driscoll, who went down 46-10 on his debut.
“We feel that we have the capabilities if we play to our strengths and play the way we know we can. Needless to say it'll be an extremely tough test match, it always is against Australia."
"But the next opportunity is the best one to take and try to overturn the slide of defeats. It'll take a big effort, but I know the capabilities of this squad and team and it's certainly within our grasp.”
O’Driscoll has tried, and failed, to beat Australia five times Down Under, while his only success against the Walalbies in their own backyard came in the first Test of the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour when he scored a try in Brisbane in a 29-13 victory. The Wallabies hit back to win the series 2-1.