EWEN McKenzie has drawn on memories of Australia’s triumphant 1991 World Cup campaign as a very different Wallabies outfit aims to start winning back credibility at Lansdowne Road.
McKenzie enjoyed the best fortnight of his rugby career in two wildly different Test wins against Ireland then the All Blacks in Dublin 22 years ago before claiming a try in the final win over England.
The Wallabies coach is back in Ireland where he’s laid down the law to his rebuilding team ahead of Sunday morning’s (AEDT) clash at the redeveloped ground now named Aviva Stadium.
Coming off the pressure-relieving 50-20 win over Italy, the former tight-head prop has demanded a first back-to-back win of 2013.
He’s also delivered cautionary tales about the hospitality of the locals and the difference one week makes.
In a message of ‘do what I say and not what I did’, McKenzie has warned of the perils of Dublin’s fun and frovolity.
Bob Dwyer’s 1991 world-beaters fully embraced the Irish capital but managed to get away with bonding at local pubs Bad Bob’s and Molly Malone’s as well as the Guinness Brewery.
They turned smiling Irish eyes into crying ones with a last-gasp Michael Lynagh try for a quarter-final escape at Lansdowne Road before following up with a first-class 16-6 semi-final defeat of New Zealand.
It came after McKenzie and tight-five teammates Phil Kearns, Tony Daly and Rod McCall enjoyed a few sly pints on match eve.
“These were the old days, and no one knew any better,” he said.
“I remember turning and looking to my right and there was Grizz Wyllie, the All Blacks coach, standing there thinking ‘here’s the Australian tight-forwards drinking, we should be right in this semi-final’.
“In the end we played pretty well. But that’s the sort of place it is.”
In fact, it was a near perfect Wallabies’ display as David Campese cut loose, scoring one try and setting up another to Tim Horan with a magical no-look pass.
The week before they were lucky to get through as Lynagh’s injury-time try stunned Lansdowne Road only two minutes after Gordon Hamilton sent them into raptures.
“A week is a long time in rugby,” McKenzie said. “We were almost not there (in the semi-final) and then a week later it was our finest hour.
“It doesn’t matter if one week you win by 50 if you then lose the next.
“(Italy) was a good win but we move on and we have to prove ourselves in a different environment.
“We have to get some credibility from somewhere.”
Ireland are coming off an unimpressive 40-9 win over an understrength Samoa in their first Test under Kiwi coach Joe Schmidt.
They’re set to have playmaker Jonny Sexton back from a hip injury and captain Paul O’Connell starting but flanker Chris Henry is a certain scratching with a hamstring problem.
Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau (hamstring) and flanker Scott Fardy (concussion) will be available for the Wallabies.
By Jim Morton (AAP)