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Schmidt names strongest possible 15 to face Wallabies

JOE SCHMIDT has named his strongest possible team for the visit of Australia, recalling most of the men rested against Georgia while naming fit-again Rory Best at hooker.

Only Gordon D’Arcy, Mike Ross and Simon Zebo are retained from last week’s starting XV, as the likes of Paul O’Connell, Johnny Sexton and Rob Kearney return after their weekend off.

D’Arcy partners Robbie Henshaw in the centre for the first time, with Kearney teaming up with Tommy Bowe and Simon Zebo once again in the back three.

Up front, Jack McGrath and Mike Ross join Best in the front-row, while Devin Toner and skipper O’Connell resume their partnership in the second-row.

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Ireland's Paul O'Connell during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare (Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE)

Ireland's Paul O'Connell during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare (Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE)

SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Jamie Heaslip during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Jamie Heaslip during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Jamie Heaslip during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Jamie Heaslip during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Rhys Ruddock, centre, with Rory Best, left, and Jonathan Sexton, right, during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Rhys Ruddock, centre, with Rory Best, left, and Jonathan Sexton, right, during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Peter O'Mahony during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Peter O'Mahony during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Mike Ross, left, and Jack McGrath during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Mike Ross, left, and Jack McGrath during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Gordon D'Arcy during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Gordon D'Arcy during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland assistant Simon Easterby during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland assistant Simon Easterby during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Devin Toner, left, and Robbie Diack during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Devin Toner, left, and Robbie Diack during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Jamie Heaslip during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Jamie Heaslip during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Rory Best during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

20 November 2014; Ireland's Rory Best during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

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Ireland's Paul O'Connell during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare (Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE)

Behind them, the emergency combination used when Chris Henry cried off on the morning of the win over South Africa gets another chance, with Schmidt resisting the urge to bring in a specialist openside to counter the threat posed by Australia captain Michael Hooper.

Dave Foley comes on to the bench and could win his second cap, while Cronin edges out Richardt Strauss to take his place on the bench.

Wallaby coach Michael Cheika has made four changes to his starting XV after last week’s defeat to France, with Fijian wing Henry Speight set for his debut.

Ireland team to face Australia: R Kearney; T Bowe, R Henshaw, G D'Arcy, S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best, M Ross; D Toner, P O'Connell (capt); P O'Mahony, R Ruddock, J Heaslip. Reps: S Cronin, D Kilcoyne, R Ah You, D Foley, T O’Donnell, E Reddan, I Madigan, F Jones.

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