Jacob Stockdale, Rob Herring and Iain Henderson start for Ireland as Joe Schmidt named his side this morning for the first test against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday. (KO 20:00 local time, 11:00 UK/IRE)
There’s no space for John Cooney as Kieran Marmion occupies the replacement scrum half spot with Conor Murray starting.
With Rory Best withdrawing from the tour this week, fellow Ulsterman, Rob Herring takes the hooker jersey. Jack McGrath and John Ryan are the starting props with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong on the bench. Tadhg Beirne will have to wait for his Irish debut as he is not listed on the matchday squad. James Ryan and Iain Henderson start at second row. In the back row, Peter O’Mahony takes the captain’s armband in Best’s absence alongside Jordi Murphy on the openside and CJ Stander at 8.
A rare name on replacements’ bench, Johnny Sexton makes way for Munster-bound Joey Carbery who has an experienced head on the inside, namely Conor Murray. Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw form an elusive centre partnership while the team is completed by Jacob Stockdale, Keith Earls and Rob Kearney in the back three positions.
In previous seasons, Joe Schmidt was unwilling to experiment with his starting team I always felt this hurt Ireland in RWC2015. Now however, he has handed Joey Carbery a start at out half and has publicly backed the Auckland-born player as Ireland’s ‘back up’ out half to Johnny Sexton.
We’re beginning to see experimentation and an increase of squad depth all over the pitch. Jack McGrath and John Ryan are adept scrummagers while the addition of Tadhg Beirne to the set up leaves Ireland with the depth in the second row compared to when they heavily relied on Paul O’Connell and Donnacha O’Callaghan in the past.
Bernard Foley, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete and Israel Folau are all dangerous in the backline. Koroibete is fresh from scoring a hat trick for the Rebels in their six try thumping of the Sunwolves in late May while Folau is third in the try scoring stats for the Australian conference with seven.
In the Australian pack, David Pocock and Michael Hooper pose the obvious threat at the break down while Taniela Tupou, nicknamed the ‘Tongan Thor’ is an powerful ball carrier to come off the bench. The tight-head prop almost inspired the Reds to a shock victory over the Hurricanes in May with a try and this try assist:
At only 22 years of age, Taniela Tupou has already established himself as a match winner at the Reds and will be hoping to do the same in the gold jersey of Australia.
The FRU predicts: It’s not too often Ireland go into the summer tour with confidence. They ran South Africa close in 2016, a series they should have won, but it’s 1979 since Ireland travelled to one of the Southern Hemisphere ‘big three’ and won a series. I think Ireland stand a wonderful chance of winning the series and I think they will kick the series off with a bang on Saturday morning. Ireland by 10.
|Israel Folau||15||Rob Kearney|
|Marika Koroibete||14||Keith Earls|
|Samu Kerevi||13||Robbie Henshaw|
|Kurtley Beale||12||Bundee Aki|
|Dane Haylett-Petty||11||Jacob Stockdale|
|Bernard Foley||10||Joey Carbery|
|Will Genia||9||Conor Murray|
|Scott Sio||1||Jack McGrath|
|Brandon Paenga-Amosa||2||Rob Herring|
|Sekope Kefu||3||John Ryan|
|Izack Rodda||4||James Ryan|
|Adam Coleman||5||Iain Henderson|
|David Pocock||6||Peter O’Mahony|
|Michael Hooper||7||Jordi Murphy|
|Caleb Timu||8||CJ Stander|
|Tolu Latu||16||Sean Cronin|
|Allan Alaatoa||17||Cian Healy|
|Taniela Tupou||18||Tadhg Furlong|
|Rob Simmons||19||Quinn Roux|
|Lukhan Tui||20||Jack Conan|
|Pete Samu||21||Kieran Marmion|
|Nick Phipps||22||Johnny Sexton|
|Reece Hodge||23||Jordan Larmour|