If Australia are involved, the weight of numbers is proving an exciting ride. On Saturday they fell to the in-form Ireland, but by three points, 29-26.
Ireland had beaten South Africa just a fortnight before so were no mugs. To go down so narrowly was no real devastation for Michael Cheika, the new coach making his mark on the side starting with this tour.
But his endurance, or that of his fingernails, is being tested.
His last four results have been a 29-29 loss to France, a 28-33 win over Wales, a 36-40 win over Barbarians and a 28-29 loss to New Zealand under the previous boss Ewen McKenzie.
In the latest thriller, Kiwi Joe Schmidt’s Irish side got off to a flyer with Simon Zebo and Tommy Bowe tries helping them to a 17-0 lead.
If nothing else though, this is a Wallabies side with pluck, and their first fight back came via tries to Nick Phipps (2) and Bernard Foley.
All tied up at half-time courtesy of Ireland’s penalty through Jonny Sexton but his boot got them started in the second stanza with two penalties.
In the end it was the playmaker’s boot that made the difference, with his final tally of four penalties and two conversions.
Unfortunately for the Aussies, three tries yielded just two points from the potential bonus of six from conversions from the previously on fire Foley.
The injection of Kurley Beale – returning from exile after a text scandal – added danger but couldn’t deliver the killer blow.
This week it’s the big one at Twickenham, not just for the Aussies as they fell to the men in green 11 years to the day that Jonny Wilkinson kicked a field goal to beat them in the World Cup final but for England, who won their first Test in six starts against Samoa.
Both sides will be desperate to end the autumn with momentum with the World Cup – and each other in the pool stages – beckoning.
OTHER AUTUMN INTERNATIONALS
Wales 16 – 34 New Zealand
Italy 6 – 22 South Africa
Scotland 37 – 12 Tonga
England 28 – 9 Samoa
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