Paul O’Connell will lead Ireland against Australia at the Aviva Stadium this Saturday as the new Irish captain starts in the second row in the second game of the GUINNESS Series.
Paul O’Connell is joined in the engine room by Devin Toner with Cian Healy introduced to the front row. Sean O’Brien starts at openside in the absence of the injured Chris Henry.
Brian O’Driscoll earns his 127th cap since his Test debut against Australia in 1999 and will be partnered in midfield by Ulster youngster Luke Marshall.
Jonathan Sexton returns to the out-half berth and is reunited with his former provincial half-back partner Eoin Reddan.
There are a total of ten 2013 British & Irish Lions involved in the matchday squad – Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, O’Driscoll, Sexton, Conor Murray, Jamie Heaslip, O’Brien, O’Connell, Rory Best and Healy.
11 of the selected Ireland team started in the 2011 Rugby World Cup pool victory over Australia at Eden Park which was the last time these sides met.
Commenting on the team selection, head coach Joe Schmidt said: “Coming into this autumn series we had a mindset we would try to grow the squad to a degree, not to have to rely on the same starting fifteen.
“We’re happy with Conor (Murray), but it’s about an opportunity. We were delighted with Paddy (Jackson), and it’s unlucky for Paddy, but we just feel Ian (Madigan) gives us more cover off the bench.
“Johnny (Sexton) was rested last week and he comes in fresh. Gordon (D’Arcy) spent time with Luke (Marshall) during the week making sure he can be as good as possible for this weekend.”
IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Australia, Aviva Stadium, 2013 GUINNESS Series/Lansdowne Cup, Saturday, November 16, kick-off 5.45pm):
15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 47
14. Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 52
13. Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) 126
12. Luke Marshall (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 3
11. Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 20
10. Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92) 36
9. Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster) 51
1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 40
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 68
3. Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster) 32
4. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 8
5. Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster) 86 (capt)
6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 17
7. Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster) 28
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) 58
16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 28
17. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 1
18. Stephen Archer (Cork Constitution/Munster) 1
19. Mike McCarthy (Leinster) 13
20. Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 6
21. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 20
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster) 5
23. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht) 2