Irish talk up Australia's chances     27 Jun 2006    

After a 0-3 loss of Tests during Ireland's Australasian tour, O'Driscoll was able to observe the state of the game in both countries, although the All Blacks team that beat Ireland was not at full strength.

"I think you just have to match New Zealand with muscle power, which the Aussies clearly can, and I'm sure they will be out to turn over the All Blacks.

"Those scorelines don't lie. The Aussie backline are probably a little smarter than New Zealand's.

"They tend to read the game extremely well and they work out early where they think they might exploit your frailties," he told Planet Rugby.

Meanwhile, O'Sullivan also rated the Australians better than New Zealand.

"Australia are playing to their strengths, by using their backs to get over the gain [advantage] line, and that's taking a lot of pressure off the pack.

"The Australian pack are now running onto the ball from deep positions. That's the game which suits them at the moment.

"They've got that balance right. If they played in a monsoon, and had to change their game plan to sticking it up their shirts, that would probably suit them as well. They've just been smart," he said.

O'Sullivan also praised the Australian lineout to the Sydney Morning Herald. He rated it as one of the best defensive lineouts in the world.

"We knew going into the game [the Perth Test] that we would be under pressure at lineout time, because they have four big jumpers, and use them very well."

While he was at it, O'Sullivan also rated Australian first five-eighths Stephen Larkham as a better player than New Zealand's Dan Carter.

"Larkham is a magnificent footballer. I've always rated him. He runs the game magnificently, and has all the strengths of a flyhalf.

"Carter is right up there as well, but he's a different type of player. Larkham is the guy who runs the game really, really well.

"Carter has the game run a bit by the centres, which Tana Umaga did very well for him.

"The big test for Carter now is whether he can take that mantle on," he said.