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Ross expects tougher battle against Aussies

By Nick Purewal

Australia are far more threatening at the scrum than their "unjustified" criticism suggests, according to Ireland prop Mike Ross.

The experienced tighthead has been studying the Wallabies' set-piece and thinks Joe Schmidt's men have their work cut out on Saturday.

The Ireland pack overwhelmed Samoa in both tight and loose play in Saturday's 40-9 victory in Dublin, but the 33-year-old Leinster man anticipates a far tougher battle at the coal face for the second weekend of Ireland's autumn international series.

Ross said: "I think they are very good at retaining their own ball.

"If you look at the statistics most of the times they are sanctioned is on opposition ball, whereas on their own ball they seem to win that fairly handily.

"They have a lot of experience in there – they do get a fair bit of stick but I think a lot of that is unjustified. I was watching them against England and I thought they were quite unlucky at times.

"I went through the Italy game too, and they got sanctioned a few times, but at the same time they still put 50 points on Italy.

"It's up to the individual referee of course (how they call the scrum), but most of their sanction is on opposition ball. It's probably something for them to look at themselves, but I'm not expecting it to be easy by any means."

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