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Friday 19 January 2018

Live stream: Joe Schmidt names his Ireland team to face Australia

Joe Schmidt has raised some eyebrows by making seven changes to his starting XV for this weekend's Guinness Series International against the Wallabies at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

The Lions quintet of Cian Healy, Tommy Bowe, Jonathan Sexton, Paul O'Connell and Sean O'Brien are restored to the team.

It will be the first time since Ireland's quarter-final defeat to Wales at the 2011 Rugby World Cup that Brian O'Driscoll and O'Connell will line out alongside each other.

Dr O'Driscoll will be partnered in midfield in Ulster's Luke Marshall who comes on for Gordon D'Arcy, who is omitted from the matchday 23.

Devin Toner has got the nod ahead of Mike McCarthy to partner Paul O'Connell in the second row.

Eoin Reddan starts at scrum-half ahead of Conor Murray with Sexton replacing Paddy Jackson who doesn't make the replacements bench with Ian Madigan preferred because he can play across the back division.

Last week's man-of-the-match Jack McGrath drops to bench with Cian Healy taking his place.

There is no place in the squad for last week's double tryscorer Dave Kearney with Connacht's Robbie Henshaw likely to see some game time from the bench.

Kevin McLaughlin is preferred to Shane Jennings and Jamie Coughlan as back-row cover on the replacements bench.

Ireland team to play Australia: (15-9) R Kearney, T. Bowe, B O'Driscoll, L Marshall, F McFadden, J Sexton, E Reddan; (1-8) C Healy, R Best, M Ross, D Toner, P O'Connell, P O'Mahony, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

Replacements: (16-23) S Cronin, J McGrath, S Archer, M McCarthy, K McLaughlin, C Murray, I Madigan, R Henshaw.

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