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Ronan O'Gara pictured here in training earlier today in Auckland
Dan Sheridan
O'Gara Benched
9 September 2011, 6:22 am
By The Editor
Despite running the show against the USA after Jonny Sexton had been hauled off early in the second half, Ronan O'Gara finds himself warming the bench for the game against Australia in Auckland's Eden Park (9.30am).
It's the sixth successive Test that has seen Ireland field a different half-back pairing but coach Declan Kidney said. "There's no uncertainty at all in my mind who my first choice half-back partnership is."

"The combination of Eoin and Jonny have played a fair bit together. They went well against England in March and went well in Heineken Cup matches."

"The only uncertainty is who to leave out because they're all good players. Both outside-halves are going really well. The problem is not who to pick, it's who to leave out."

Speaking on radio yesterday from Auckland former Munster & Ireland lock Donal Lenihan spoke of a "certain arrogance" in the Australian attitude at their press conference and another Munster and Ireland great, Anthony Foley, is in little doubt that Ireland can put their indifferent form behind them and beat the Aussies. "Of course they can. No question."

"Look, going into that game, everyone would have said that the USA were going to come hard for thirty to forty minutes which was absolutely correct. Thirty in the first half then ten in the second." he said.

"The weather conditions deteriorated, that helped the USA and hindered Ireland.

"The one glaring thing for me was that we didn't see the wood from the trees, in terms of where we had our dominance, where we could get our scores. It's a learning curve hopefully not a costly one for the Irish boys."

On a positive note as Foley sees it? "It's a win. It's four points. They're up 'n running. Have put an end to that losing streak they were on."

"The other thing is they'll be written off for the Australia game. And yes I know, people say we need to get away from being the underdogs but when you have it and you're comfortable with it, why not use it ?" he asked.

"They'll go into next Saturday's game having taken a lot of criticism. Some fair, some, as usual, not. But it's just important that they believe in themselves, that they can beat Australia which they can do."

"You go back a couple of months, Samoa beat Australia and it wasn't that long ago we were beating Australia as well."

"So, do we have have the ability to beat them? Of course we do. Absolutely."

"It's a question of having the confidence."

Ireland (Saturday, September 17, Eden Park, KO 9.30am): Rob Kearney; Tommy Bowe, Brian O'Driscoll (c), Gordon D'Arcy, Keith Earls; Jonny Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross; Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell; Stephen Ferris, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Jerry Flannery, Tom Court, Donnacha Ryan, Denis Leamy, Conor Murray, Ronan O'Gara, Andrew Trimble.

Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

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