Ireland will be targeting a first win against the Wallabies in Australia since 1979 when the teams meet in Brisbane on Saturday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
While the Wallabies are always a difficult beast at home, Ireland will be confident of success in this three-Test series.
Since losing to Wales in the fourth round of the 2017 Six Nations, the Irish have claimed 12 consecutive victories, including a clean-sweep last November and a Six Nations Grand Slam earlier this year that elevated them to No 2 in the World Rugby rankings.
The Wallabies were the last team to beat the All Blacks, in October last year, but Michael Cheika’s men ended 2017 with defeats to England at Twickenham and Scotland at Murrayfield. They are currently fourth in the rankings.
Increasing the confidence levels in the Ireland squad is the fact that they have six players in their run-on XV (12 overall in the match-day squad) who were part of Leinster’s unprecedented Champions Cup and Pro14 double.
In a surprise selection, Joey Carbery has been inserted at flyhalf ahead of Johnny Sexton, who will provide cover off the bench. The 22-year-old has excelled at No 10 for Leinster, but it will be interesting to see how he measures up against Australia’s Bernard Foley at Test level.
Cheika has named three debutants – hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa, No 8 Caleb Time and loose forward Pete Samu – in his match 23.
Wallabies fullback Israel Folau courted more controversy earlier this week when he told the press that he doesn’t ‘really know too much about the Ireland side’.
The Irish will be out to show Folau just why he should get up to speed.
Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 David Pocock, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Reece Hodge.
Ireland – 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 James Ryan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Herring, 1 Jack McGrath.
Subs: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Johnny Sexton 23 Jordan Larmour.
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