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Schmidt: D'Arcy and Henshaw can feed off each other and connect against Wallabies

Joe Schmidt has insisted that a good performance rather than result is what matters against Australia on Saturday.

Schmidt and his high-flying Ireland team will be hoping to make it three from three in the autumn internationals when the mighty Wallabies come to Lansdowne Road, but first and foremost Schmidt wants his side to continue the momentum and put in a strong display.

"We'll be disappointed if we don't perform well, if we perform well we'll have a chance," said Schmidt after naming a strong starting 15 for the crunch match today.

"It's very hard to speculate and calculate what impact a win would have. It would grow confidence for sure and the players would get self-belief from it. We try not to be too much result-focused, we're more performance focused."

And the Ireland manager is expecting an even stronger test than that posed by South Africa two weeks ago.

"There are differences (between Australia and South Africa), Speight is an incredibly powerful runner, a tackle breaker like JP Pietersen. Adam Ashley Cooper is an experienced player.

"I do think the sheer bulk of the South Africa pack is not matched by the Australians, but they have a very varied lineout. They can cop a lot of pressure at scrum, but if we can keep the scrum stable from the very start it would be interesting because we struggled with the hit and chase.

"I don't know if you can ask for more from Robbie, whether he's 12 or 13, it was seamless when he moved in.

"There will be some traffic for Johnny, Gordon and Robbie to cope with. Robbie's also going to have to link with the wingers too."

Saturday's game will see Gordon D'Arcy and Robbie Henshaw paired together at centre following the injury to Jared Payne and Schmidt envisages no problems against Australia.

"They spent a bit of time together when D'Arce got back fit, they've enjoyed two training sessions this week and I'm hoping they can feed off each other, can connect well and there's no space for those big Australian runners."

Schmidt concedes that opposing coach Michael Cheika will use all his inside knowledge to his advantage.

"He'll know us as players and characters and will try and tap into that. When we played for him, he did that with players he knew.

"We're concentrating on ourselves, we're trying not to get bogged down with the Michael Cheika factor even though we respect what he did for Leinster.

"We're still in touch, but not this week. I texted him to congratulate him on getting the job and he texted back looking for pointers with regard to the Welsh boys! We'll catch up after the game.

"He has a great rugby brain, he knows us very well and we'll have to show him something new."

Online Editors