Sexton one of eight Irish changes for second Test

by Sam Phillips

Johnny Sexton's return to the starting XV is one of eight changes made by Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, as the tourists prepare for a do-or-die second Test at AAMI Park.

Sexton will resume his longstanding partnership with Conor Murray in the halves, while star props Cian Healy and Tadgh Furlong were also recalled to the starting XV.

Niall Scannel will pack down between that pair, with Devin Toner joining young gun James Ryan in the second row.Peter O'Mahony will captain Ireland once again. Photo: WalmsleyDan Leavy is charged with curbing the breakdown dominance of the Australians in earning the nod at openside flanker, Peter O'Mahony to captain the side from blindside flanker.

Garry Ringrose replaces Bundee Aki in the centres, with Andrew Conway named on the right wing in place of Jacob Stockdale.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said Sexton would be raring to go after sitting on the bench 

"Johnny is always happy when he’s on there, I thought he was super last week in his preparation, he brought a bit of confidence into the mix for Joey and pushed him along a little bit," he said.

"Johnny's had the opportunity to look after Johnny a little more this week and get himself ready to go.

"That’s a positive thing. Hopefully he gets a positive start into the game and, on the back of that, the team get a positive following."

Schmidt said the team had been inconsistent in training, but hoped they could improve each week in Australia, in a similar vein to their Six Nations form earlier this year.

"We trained well today, we were a little but flat onTuesday to be honest. It took some players a little bit of time to find their feet.

"We're a long way from home, nine hours' time difference and I’d like to think we’ve got a buit more rhythm to us.

"One of the really good things in the Six Nations was I felt we built through it and I'm hoping to build through the tour.

"We didn't start the way we wanted to, we’d have liked to have started from a higher pitch and built on from that."

The Wallabies take on Ireland in Melbourne on Saturday night, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.


Ireland team to face the Wallabies in second June Test

1. Cian Healy

2. Niall Scannell

3. Tadhg Furlong

4. Devin Toner

5. James Ryan

6. Peter O'Mahony (C)

7. Dan Leavy

8. CJ Stander

9. Connor Murray

10. Johnny Sexton

11. Keith Earls

12. Robbie Henshaw

13. Garry Ringrose

14. Andrew Conway

15. Rob Kearney


16. Rob Herring

17. Jack McGrath

18. Andrew Porter

19. Tadhg Beirne

20. Jordi Murphy

21. John Cooney

22. Joey Carbery

23. Jordan Larmour