It’s do-or-die for Ireland in Melbourne this weekend and CJ Stander is relishing the opportunity to take the test series with Australia to a decider in Sydney.

The AAMI Park in Melbourne is the venue this Saturday (kick-off Irish time 11am) as an Irish team smarting from the 18-9 defeat last weekend will look to bounce back from a first defeat in 13 games.

Even aside from a few questionable decisions from the match officials – something head coach Joe Schmidt alluded to post-match – Ireland could have few complaints over the result despite leading 9-8 going into the final quarter; the Wallabies ruled in the air, brought huge aggression in the tackle, shut down the Irish attack and claimed the only two tries of the game.

The breakdown was another area in which the visitors were very much second best, with captain Michael Hooper and David Pocock pilfering ball and stifling the Irish at ruck time.

Stander says the grand slam champions were a little off from their usual high standards.

"We didn’t have that sharpness we had in the Six Nations, that edge," he told RTÉ Sport. "We coughed up a few balls, but on the other side, Australia were unbelievable.

"They put us under pressure for 80 minutes and scored good tries that took the game away from us."

The Munster man went closest for Ireland to crossing the whitewash, but referee Marius van der Westhuizen, and subsequently the television match official, erred on the side of caution as to whether he had grounded the ball after a typical barnstorming run.

Did he manage to touch the ball down among the pile of bodies?

"Of course. I surely touched the grass," the number eight said, before acknowledging the difficulty of the decision for the TMO.

The first test was always going to be a challenge, with a long-haul flight and a race to acclimatise before tackling an Australia side keen to avoid a third successive defeat following the November defeats to Scotland and England.

Now the tourists are very much into their stride from a preparation standpoint.

"Everyone is back to their normal sleeping routine. Recovery wise we are good and we are going to attack the week," Stander says.

"We came down here to play our game and get a series win. We have an opportunity this weekend and we must make sure we take it"

The Irish backrow of Peter O’Mahony, Jordi Murphy and Stander will need to be at the top of their game as a unit to thwart their Australian counterparts, while right around the field, Joe Schmidt and his management team will be expecting a more clinical performance.

"Australia is going to come out even better than last week. We need to look at what we can fix and play better to make sure we get the win.

"Saturday is a chance for us to come back. We came down here to play our game and get a series win.

"We have an opportunity this weekend and we must make sure we take it."

Follow Australia v Ireland on our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News Now app and listen to live commentary on 2fm from 10.45am (11am kick-off).