Autumn Internationals: Johnny Sexton returns to lead Ireland against Australia, Bundee Aki back on bench | Rugby Union News

Ireland host Australia at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday; captain Johnny Sexton has recovered from a dead leg sustained against South Africa; Stuart McCloskey and Garry Ringrose start in midfield; Bundee Aki is now available for selection after suspension and is named on the bench

Last Updated: 17/11/22 3:03pm

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton missed the team’s meeting with Fiji due to a dead leg he sustained against South Africa

Johnny Sexton returns from injury to lead Ireland against Australia on Saturday. Bundee Aki is available again after a suspension and features on the bench.

Sexton suffered a dead leg against South Africa and duly missed out on the team’s encounter with Fiji last weekend.

Ireland’s captain will line-up with Jamison Gibson-Park as his half-back partner and the duo will have a midfield of Stuart McCloskey and Garry Ringrose outside of them.

Hugo Keenan is named at full-back and will earn his 25th cap, as Jimmy O’Brien and Mack Hansen move to the right.

James Ryan returns to the second row to partner Tadhg Beirne. Josh van der Flier and Peter O’Mahony return to the back row, with Caelan Doris switching from the blindside to No 8.

Ireland’s Autumn Internationals

Saturday, November 5 Ireland 19-16 South Africa 5.30 pm
Saturday, November 12 Ireland 35-17 Fiji 1 p.m
Saturday, November 19 Ireland vs Australia 8 p.m

Joe McCarthy is named among the replacements and could earn his first senior cap for Ireland if called upon during the encounter.

Aki has 40 caps worth of experience to add to the game while Craig Casey has the chance to play against Australia for the first time.

Seven of Ireland’s starting team will be facing Australia for the first time and the Wallabies will arrive in Dublin smarting after a first loss to Italy last weekend.

Ireland: 15. Hugo Keenan, 14. Mack Hansen, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Stuart McCloskey, 11. Jimmy O’Brien, 10. Johnny Sexton (captain), 9. Jamison Gibson Park, 1. Andrew Porter, 2. Dan Sheehan , 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Tadhg Beirne, 5. James Ryan, 6. Peter O’Mahony, 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. Caelan Doris.

Replacements: 16. Rob Herring, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Finlay Bealham, 19. Joe McCarthy, 20. Jack Conan, 21. Craig Casey, 22. Jack Crowley, 23. Bundee Aki.

Wallabies return to experience for Ireland test

Australia are focused on bouncing back after a first-ever loss to Italy last weekend

Australia are focused on bouncing back after a first-ever loss to Italy last weekend

Australia have made 10 changes and recalled a wealth of experience for their showdown with Ireland as they aim to banish the memories of last weekend.

James Slipper returns to lead the side in what will be his 126th Test. Slipper forms a front-row unit with David Porecki and Allan Alaalatoa.

Cadeyrn Neville and Nick Frost will reform their second-row partnership at the Aviva Stadium, with the latter overcoming a minor ankle injury picked up against France and a spot of illness to take his place in the team. Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper and Rob Valetini form the back row.

Australia’s Autumn Internationals

Saturday, October 29 Scotland 15-16 Australia
Saturday, November 5 France 30-29 Australia
Saturday, November 12 Italy 28-27 Australia
Saturday, November 19 Ireland vs Australia 8 p.m

Scrum-half Nic White will play his 59th Test for his country and partner Bernard Foley in the half-backs. The midfield pairing of Hunter Paisamj and Len Ikitau will both face Ireland for the first time.

“We were all bitterly disappointed after last weekend’s performance,” head coach Dave Rennie said. “We’re better than that and we need a response against Ireland on their home deck.

“We’ve had a great week of preparation and welcome back a wealth of experience to the team this weekend.

“We’re excited by the challenge to play the number one side in the world and can’t wait for Saturday night.”

Australia: 15. Andrew Kellaway, 14. Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13. Len Ikitau, 12. Hunter Paisami, 11. Tom Wright, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Nic White, 1. James Slipper (captain), 2. Dave Porecki, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Nick Frost, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Jed Holloway, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Rob Valetini.

Replacements: 16. Folau Fainga’a, 17. Tom Robertson, 18. Taniela Tupou, 19. Will Skelton, 20. Pete Samu, 21. Jake Gordon, 22. Noah Lolesio, 23. Jordan Petaia

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