Picking An Ireland Team To Take On Australia In The First Test

Down under.

Six Nations Grand Slam champions Ireland will travel down south this summer for a mouth-watering three-Test series with Australia.

Cheika’s Wallabies have been on mixed run of form since Ireland last played them in Dublin a couple of years back, but still pose a big threat to Joe Schmidt’s side.

They’ve got a win over the All Blacks under their belt, and showed some real signs of improvement at last year’s Rugby Championship. It’s going to be a slugfest, and as Johnny Sexton said this week, a series win is crucial if Ireland want to really consider themselves as Rugby World Cup contenders.

Interestingly, Ireland actually head into the series as slight favourites. To see an Irish team heading to Australia for a three-Test series with the Wallabies, as favourites, really shows how much the balance of power has swung in recent years.

That being said, expect a strong Ireland team to take the field for the first Test in Brisbane on June 9. In fact, depending on injuries, expect most of Ireland’s Grand Slam heroes to start.

We don’t expect the likes of Chris Farrell and Robbie Henshaw to travel, with both players currently out with serious injuries. We’ve also ruled Keith Earls out, as his injury looks to be serious too.

We’ve brought Jordan Larmour in onto the wing to replace Earls, and we’ve also given Rob Kearney a rest for the opening Test in favour of Andrew Conway. Depending on how the next few weeks go, the back-three could be a number of combinations. The decision to bring Conway in is purely based on his November form. Had he not been injured we imagine he would have seen plenty of minutes during the Six Nations.

9-13 likely won’t be changed, but the pack may see one or two switches. We’ve gone with Jack McGrath to be given an opportunity to start a few games, and perhaps reclaim his jersey from Cian Healy.

We’ve also notably drafted in Munster-bound Tadhg Beirne. He could very well feature off the bench.

Possible Ireland vs Australia XV

15. Andrew Conway
14. Jordan Larmour
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Bundee Aki
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Jack McGrath
2. Rory Best
3. Tadhg Furlong

4. James Ryan
5. Iain Henderson

6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Dan Leavy
8. CJ Stander

Replacements:

16. Sean Cronin
17. Cian Healy
18. Andrew Porter
19. Tadhg Beirne
20. Sean O’Brien
21. John Cooney/Kieran Marmion
22. Joey Carbery
23. Rory Scannell