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IRS by the numbers: It's set to be tight

International Rules: a fiery hybrid history The IRS series has a long and at times ferocious history

THE 2017 Virgin Australia International Rules Series will be a close contest if past results are anything to go by.

Ireland holds a narrow 21-17 advantage over Australia in the 40 previous international rules matches between the two countries since 1984.

There have also been two draws.

Ireland have been the dominant side in the past six years, losing just one of the past seven Tests since 2011.

That has helped the Irish take a 10-9 series lead, with Australia looking to win their first two-Test series since 2010.

Of the 40 matches between Australia and Ireland, 21 have been decided by less than 10 points, with two being decided by a solitary point.

The opening Test will be played at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, before the series shifts to Perth's Domain Stadium on November 18.

Scoring in international rules games is slightly different to Australian football.

Goals are still worth six points, but players must get the ball under the crossbar and into the net.

The umpire will wave a green flag and raise both index fingers to signify a goal.

What AFL supporters know as a goal is called an over in IR games. Overs are worth three points, with the umpire raising a red flag and one arm above his head when one is scored.

The umpire will wave a white flag and raise an index finger when a behind is scored.

Some of the key rules in international rules games are:

  • A game consists of four, 18-minute quarters;
  • Each team can have a maximum of 16 interchanges per quarter;
  • A team can have a maximum of six consecutive handpasses before they must kick the ball;
  • Marks are not paid for backward kicks to a teammate;
  • Players can run with the ball for 10m before they have to bounce the ball.

This will be the first time an IRS game has been played at Adelaide Oval.

Newly-appointed Australian captain Shaun Burgoyne and Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury have the biggest gap of the current squad between selections, having last represented their country in 2008.

Carlton defender Kade Simpson is the only current squad member who has a Jim Stynes Medal, awarded to the best Australian player in the series, when he won it in 2008.

More than half of the Australian squad – 12 of its 22 players – will be playing in their first IRS.

Chris Scott becomes Australia's 12th coach, and just the fifth to coach both in an IRS and lead his side to an AFL premiership.

Ireland holds the record for the highest score in an IRS game, posting 6-22-14 (116) against Australia at Croke Park in 2013.

The lowest score is 29 points (0-7-8) by Australia in 2011 at Metricon Stadium.


First Test: Adelaide Oval, Sunday, November 12
Second Test: Domain Stadium, Saturday, November 18