Brisbane - Coach
Michael Cheika has shown his hand by picking a forwards-dominated
Wallabies squad to take on Six Nations champions Ireland in the first of
three Tests in Brisbane on Saturday.
Cheika, who coached Leinster to their first-ever European Cup in
2009, knows well the challenges of playing the Irish - currently ranked
second in the world and unbeaten in their last 12 internationals.
The Wallabies mentor has gone with a physical approach to tame them,
backed up by the attacking potency of Will Genia, Bernard Foley, Kurtley
Beale and Israel Folau.
He has called up Queensland Reds duo, hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa and
No.8 Caleb Timu, to make their international debuts and has gone with a
six-two forwards-backs bench, featuring another potential debutant in
backrower Pete Samu.
The Irish, who haven't won a Test in Australia since 1979, are an
attritional combination, playing patient build-up rugby and probing for
weaknesses with their pinpoint kicking game.
The Wallabies might have their best chance of an upset in the opening
game of the series with Ireland starting without six players from the
Grand Slam side that downed England at Twickenham in March.
Irish coach Joe Schmidt left out Johnny Sexton, Garry Ringrose, Dan
Leavy, Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong from his starting side along with
injured captain Rory Best following Leinster's successful European and
Pro 14 campaigns.
Sexton, who looms as the danger man for the Wallabies in this series
having recently steered Leinster to a record-equalling fourth European
Champions Cup, was named among the reserves for Saturday's Test.
"They heavily rely on his kicking game," Wallabies playmaker Kurtley Beale told reporters.
"He's their main creator in the team. Whenever they do have ball in
hand, a lot of the time he is their go-to guy to release pressure by
putting balls in the corner.
"That's something we're very aware of but he certainly plays a
dominant role with the way they play with ball in hand and certainly the
way they exit their own half."
Carbery, who has only started in two of his previous 10 caps - against
the United States and Fiji - got the nod ahead of Sexton for the first
Test alongside Conor Murray.
Murray is determined that Ireland build on their Six Nations win earlier this year.
"This group, the success that we had the last time we were together
was fantastic, we've all been aiming for that for quite a while but we
all want to finish this season on a high and we're all really
competitive," Murray said.
"It's a challenge to come here against one of the big-dog teams and
put down a marker and to get a result down here is something everyone in
our group wants to do.
"It's a really competitive environment and I think we're really good
at that, just moving on and looking at the next target, our next
15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 David Pocock, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Pete Samu, 22cNick Phipps, 23 Reece Hodge
15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Peter O'Mahony (captain), 5 Iain Henderson, 4 James Ryan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Jack McGrath
Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 Jordan Larmour