NatWest 6 Nations Grand Slam champions Peter O’Mahony and Jack McGrath are prepared for a fight on their 50th appearance in a green jersey.
Having lost the first Test to Australia 18-9 in Brisbane, Ireland fought back to win the second Test 26-21 in Melbourne to set up a series decider in Sydney.
Captain O’Mahony appreciates the significance of the event as Ireland seek a first series win on Australian soil since 1979, but knows it will be tough.
“50 caps – you wouldn’t dare to dream of it when you’re small,” the 28-year-old said.
“It’s a dream to even get your first one, but 50 is obviously a really special moment.
“It’s a massive occasion, we beat them last week for the first time in a long time here.
“To be in with an opportunity to win a series here is a testament to the team. It’s an incredible challenge, we’ve got to go there and put in a huge performance.”
Also winning his half-century of caps, McGrath comes into the front row for the final Test and claimed the NatWest 6 Nations success earlier this year is among his best memories since making his debut five years ago.
McGrath said: “Obviously this year the Grand Slam and going back to your first cap is always huge for the family, but probably when I got that first cap I wasn’t sure that I’d get to 50.
“So I’m delighted, it’s going to be a special day. My family got the news yesterday when I was selected, I got a few texts so it was nice.”
Like his skipper, McGrath understands the extent of the challenge that lays ahead of them but is relishing the chance of an historic victory.
“We’re very lucky to still be playing for something after being towards the end of a long season and it’s going to be a battle. Both teams are going to be gunning for each other.
“Australia in their back garden is a different animal, but we’re chasing a bit of history so we’re really looking forward to it.”