Surprise calls for Scannell and Conway as Joe Schmidt makes eight changes for second Australia Test
Munster pair Niall Scannell and Andrew Conway are the surprise inclusions in Joe Schmidt’s much-changed starting XV for the second Test against Australia in Melbourne.
In total, the Ireland coach has made eight personnel changes after the 18-9 first Test defeat as Johnny Sexton, Tadhg Furlong and Cian Healy come in from the bench and Garry Ringrose, Dan Leavy and Devin Toner are promoted having not been involved last weekend.
Tadhg Beirne is in line to make his international debut off the bench, while John Cooney has been promoted to replacement scrum-half.
Having been left out of the initial touring party, Scannell has leap-frogged Sean Cronin to take his place at hooker as Rob Herring drops to the bench.
The decision will come as a major blow to the Leinster hooker who enjoyed a strong finish to the season and might have reasonably expected to start the opening Test.
Keith Earls has passed his head injury assessment and starts on the left wing, with Conway coming on to the right with Rob Kearney at full-back.
Ringrose partners Robbie Henshaw in midfield, while Sexton resumes his role at No 10 alongside Conor Murray.
Scannell packs down alongside Healy and Furlong, while Toner partners James Ryan in the second-row and Leavy joins captain Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander in the back-row.
Schmidt has also shaken his bench with Munster-bound Scarlets lock Beirne rewarded for his fine season.
Australia coach Michael Cheika has kept faith in the same 23-man match-day squad that secured the first Test win.
Ireland – R Kearney; A Conway, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, K Earls; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, S Scannell, T Furlong; D Toner, James Ryan; P O'Mahony (capt), D Leavy, CJ Stander. Reps: R Herring, J McGrath, A Porter, T Beirne, J Murphy, J Cooney, J Carbery, J Larmour.
Australia -- I Folau; D Haylett-Petty, S Kerevi, K Beale, M Koroibete; B Foley, W Genia; S Sio, B Paenga-Amosa, S Kepu; I Rodda, A Coleman; D Pocock, M Hooper(capt), C Timu. Reps: T Latu, A Alaatoa, T Tupou; R Simmons, L Tui, P Samu, N Phipps, R Hodge.