Sport Rugby

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Sexton: Don't be surprised if you see a different Aussie team to the one named by Cheika

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

JOHNNY SEXTON has cast doubt over whether the Australia team selected by Michael Cheika will actually be the one that takes the field to face Ireland tomorrow.

The Ireland fly-half has suggested that his old Leinster coach may have a trick or two up his sleeve over the next 36 hours as excitement builds for the meeting of the world's third and fourth-ranked teams at the Aviva Stadium.

Sexton and his Leinster team-mates are wary of what their former boss can bring this week and he is keeping them guessing by not finalising the replacements bench in the team announced early yesterday morning.

Cheika made four changes to the named starting XV for his third Test in charge of the Wallabies, but is keeping Quade Cooper, Will Genia and Kurtley Beale in reserve as it stands - and it appears Ireland are expecting one or two surprises before kick-off.

"Cheiks is a clever guy, you know, he's named a certain team but we don't know if that will be the definite team and they have a lot of guys on the bench who can make a difference," Sexton said.

"With Cheiks, he'll change things a lot and knowing we'll have done a lot of analysis, he'll throw a different picture at us on Saturday. We maybe thought Cooper might have played 12 after his performance off the bench last week and he might still. We're not entirely sure if it is the right team."

Sexton is expecting a very different challenge from the Australians compared to what South Africa offered two weeks ago.

"I would say they will test us in ways the South Africans didn't," he said. "They are intelligent rugby players and we have to be ready for things we haven't seen before."

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