DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland coach Joe Schmidt made two changes from the side that beat South Africa for Saturday’s test against Australia as the Six Nations champions eye their first November series sweep in eight years.
Ireland followed up their superb 29-15 victory over the Springboks with a thrashing of Georgia on Sunday, resting most of their front-line players ahead of the visit of Australia who handed Schmidt his first loss as national team coach a year ago.
With Jared Payne losing his race against fitness after a late injury in an impressive debut against South Africa, the experienced Gordon D‘Arcy retains his place in the centre alongside Connacht youngster Robbie Henshaw.
Fit again hooker Rory Best returns to the side to win his 78th cap, with the explosive Sean Cronin dropping to the bench.
Ireland, who jumped to third in the world rankings after the 49-7 win over Georgia, last won all three of their November internationals in 2006 when they also overcame South Africa and Australia.
Fiji-born winger Henry Speight will make his debut for Australia, one of four changes to the starting side that lost 29-26 to France in Paris last week.
Team: 15-Rob Kearney, 14-Tommy Bowe, 13-Robbie Henshaw, 12-Gordon D‘Arcy, 11-Simon Zebo, 10-Jonathan Sexton, 9-Conor Murray, 8-Jamie Heaslip, 7-Rhys Ruddock, 6-Peter O‘Mahony, 5-Paul O‘Connell (captain), 4-Devin Toner, 3-Mike Ross, 2-Rory Best, 1-Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16-Sean Cronin, 17-Dave Kilcoyne, 18-Rodney Ah You, 19-Dave Foley, 20-Tommy O‘Donnell, 21-Eoin Reddan, 22-Ian Madigan, 23-Felix Jones.
Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries; editing by Justin Palmer; CATEGORY-SPORTS