Wednesday 15 August 2018

Sexton returns as Schmidt calls in big guns

 

Jonathan Sexton is set to return to the Ireland No 10 jersey. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile
Jonathan Sexton is set to return to the Ireland No 10 jersey. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Johnny Sexton is set to return to the Ireland No 10 jersey as Joe Schmidt makes wholesale changes to his side for the second Test against Australia.

Peter O'Mahony is expected to continue to lead the team in the second tour game against the Wallabies as the head coach recalls a host of players from the team that beat England in Twickenham to win the Grand Slam in March. Ireland need a victory in Melbourne to take the series to a decider in Sydney after losing the opener 18-9 last Saturday.

Having used last week's first Test defeat to trial some combinations, there is a more established look to this week's line-up as Sexton comes in for Joey Carbery to join Conor Murray at half-back.

Garry Ringrose is likely to come into the team alongside Robbie Henshaw who shifts inside to the No 12 jersey as Bundee Aki misses out for the first time in his maiden campaign.

cleared Schmidt was due to make a final call on his back three once he had established that Keith Earls has been cleared to play at training overnight.

The winger failed a Head Injury Assessment after coming off in Brisbane, but Ireland were hopeful that he would be available.

Dan Leavy is expected to come into the back-row alongside O'Mahony and CJ Stander, while Devin Toner will replace Iain Henderson to partner James Ryan in the second-row.

Up front, the all-Leinster trio that came off the bench last weekend are likely to get the nod this time.

Both teams are due to name their teams overnight, with Australia expected to name an unchanged XV. And Wallabies back-row David Pocock said a changed side would be no surprise to the hosts.

"They probably will make changes, I don't know for certain," he said.

"But they have a lot of experience they can bring in, up front, firstly, then also with Sexton.

"There is plenty that we can improve on without looking too far ahead. Both teams know they can get better."

Ireland (Possible team v Australia) - R Kearney; K Earls, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, J Stockdale; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, S Cronin, T Furlong; D Toner, J Ryan; P O'Mahony (capt), D Leavy, CJ Stander. Reps: TBC

Irish Independent

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