Peter O'Mahony believes Ireland must win the battle with Australia's back row if they are to triumph in Saturday's series opener.

Stand-in captain O'Mahony leads a much-changed Ireland team in the first Test against the Wallabies, as Joe Schmidt's side look to build on their Six Nations Grand Slam triumph.

Australia have made changes, too, but flankers Michael Hooper and David Pocock will provide a familiar test, according to O'Mahony.

"Every time we've come up against each other, it's always a huge battle with guys like Hooper and Pocock," he told the Irish Rugby website.

"It's not even just their back row; [Sekope] Kepu, their tighthead [prop], and both hookers will do the same. They'll have their backs supporting.

"It's a huge part of the game for us. Every time we play against each other, it's a hugely important battle and a pivotal part of the game. We're expecting exactly the same."

But O'Mahony believes, despite the changes to the side, his job as skipper is relatively simple given the team's recent success.

"All the work has been done over the last 18 months. When we come into match weeks, we're fine-tuning," he said.

"The group of players that I'm lucky enough to be around are all over their own stuff. It's just about getting ourselves right individually for the game, whatever they need to do, whatever I need to do."