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Ireland Team Named For First Test Against Australia


Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has announced the team to take on Australia in the first Test of the Series at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 8.05pm local time/11.05am Irish time).

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has announced the team to take on Australia in the first Test of the Series at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 8.05pm local time/11.05am Irish time).

With Rory Best unable to tour due to a hamstring injury, Peter O’Mahony steps up to captain Ireland for the fourth time. The Corkman first led Ireland on the 2013 summer tour to North America, and last captained the team at home to Canada in November 2016.

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O’Mahony is joined in the back row by Ulster-bound openside Jordi Murphy and number 8 CJ Stander, who has played in all eight of Ireland’s Tests so far this season. James Ryan and Iain Henderson continue their second row partnership from March’s 24-15 Grand Slam-clinching win over England.

There are six personnel changes from that game at Twickenham, including a new front row combination of Jack McGrath, Rob Herring and John Ryan. It will be Ulster hooker Herring’s second start and fourth international cap, with Munster tighthead Ryan donning the Ireland number 3 jersey for the first time since a trio of starts on the 2017 summer tour.

Joey Carbery, whose switch to Munster was confirmed last week, has been handed a chance to impress in the number 10 shirt. He takes the reins from the benched Jonathan Sexton for his third start for Ireland – and first alongside his future Munster team-mate Conor Murray.

Robbie Henshaw has recovered from a knee injury to be reunited with his former Connacht colleague Bundee Aki in the centre – it will be their fourth Test start together as a midfield pairing – and the ever-present Grand Slam back-three of Rob Kearney, Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale, the NatWest 6 Nations Player of the Championship, will line out together again.

Joe Schmidt has a very strong bench at his disposal, with Sexton one of six players involved in Leinster’s Champions Cup and GUINNESS PRO14 double success. Connacht duo Quinn Roux and Kieran Marmion complete the matchday 23.

Commenting on Carbery’s selection as starting out-half, head coach Schmidt said: “It was similar to the decision making in some of the other positions, like Tadhg Furlong. Some of those guys have had some reasonably tough weeks. One of the things with Joey was that we really wanted to get him out at 10 at some stage, and we thought the best window was to give him the longest preparation window possible.

“Before we had left Dublin and his move to Munster was announced, we had already talked about giving him this opportunity so we decided to forge ahead with it, really.

“We trained last Thursday back in Ireland, then we really trained fully on Tuesday and Thursday of this week, so within those three trainings it gave Joey an opportunity to slot himself in there. As it did for John Ryan and Rob Herring in a similar vein. It’s a really good opportunity for some of those guys to put their hand up.”

He added: “Australia have got a huge amount of caps mixed in with some newbies. Very much what’s expected. It is no surprise to see someone like (number 8) Caleb Timu in there, watching him come on for his cameo against the Waratahs at the weekend. Absolutely blockbusting, as he has been for most of the Super Rugby season.

“(Brandon) Paenga-Amosa, again probably with the injury to Jordan Uelese, it was something that was maybe forced upon Cheiks (Michael Cheika) but at the same time it’s a really good opportunity (for him at hooker). In the backs Reece Hodge has been really solid for them, and having him on the bench gives them a huge versatility to go with the six-two split.”

The three Australia v Ireland Tests this month will be broadcast live on Sky Sports (TV) and RTE 2fm (radio). Ireland supporters can follow all the news from the summer tour here on IrishRugby.ie and via the IRFU’s social media channels.

IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Australia, 2018 Summer Tour First Test, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Saturday, June 9, kick-off 8.05pm local time/11.05am Irish time):

Player/Club/Province/Caps –

15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 83
14. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 67
13. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 33
12. Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 7
11. Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 9
10. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 10
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 64
1. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 47
2. Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 3
3. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 13
4. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 38
5. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 8
6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) (capt) 47
7. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 20
8. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 23

16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 61
17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 78
18. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 23
19. Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 5
20. Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 7
21. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 21
22. Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 73
23. Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 3