Johnny Sexton, Garry Ringrose and other players Ireland need to start to keep Wallabies series alive

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Ireland will be looking to avenge their first Test defeat when they face the Wallabies for the second of their three match series on Saturday (14:00 UAE time).

Here, we take a look at five players who need to be named in Joe Schmidt’s starting XV to keep the series alive.


The best out-half in the Northern Hemisphere returns to the starting line-up after being named on the bench for the first Test against the Wallabies last week.

Joey Carbery may have produced a consistent display from 10, but the 32-year-old’s addition brings more to the table in terms of game management skills, kicking from hand and an ability to get the back-line moving at pace.

The Leinster man is a model of consistency any time he is in possession and his inclusion is critical to how Ireland perform in the 10-12 axis.

If Sexton does 100 things in a row, it seems to be with perfect execution. He has that ability to dance and always give the ball to someone in a better position, instead of taking it into contact.


Robbie Henshaw may be the influential figure in the Leinster midfield, but Ringrose is equally as effective with ball in hand and in defence.

The 24-year-old tends to play first receiver to Sexton, and provides a fresh cutting edge to Ireland’s attack. His slick feet also allows him to evade would-be tacklers and gain extra yardage in a bid to unlock the speed of Jacob Stockdale out wide.

Although Bundee Aki started the first Test and remains a solid option, Ringrose adds more x-factor and variety in attack, with his solid defensive reads key to preventing the Wallabies midfield from gaining any extra yardage.


The best tighthead in the world.

His huge physicality (6’1 and 126kg) is a menace to any opposition and – coupled with his workrate – he is an outstanding footballer with a phenomenal skill level.

The imposing 25-year-old may have the edge in the scrum, but he’ll need plenty of assistance from his pack to get the upper hand on a dominant Wallabies forward unit.


A rising star still waiting to sparkle.

The Leinster man wasn’t included in the matchday squad for the first Test due to injury, but looks likely to be named at 7 in Melbourne.

A high class operator at the breakdown, the Dublin man will need to cut down the impact of David Pocock and Michael Hooper – with the Aussie duo having a field day against the Irish last Saturday.

The 24-year-old is an instrumental presence for club and country with his strong offloading, solid carrying and smoking footwork all serious threats.

In defence, he can tackle effectively, win his own ball and show serious willingness in the tight areas.


With captain Rory Best ruled out of the series due to a hamstring injury, the experienced Leinster man will step in to provide the firepower in the front row.

Ulster’s Rob Herring threw well and was mobile around the park in Brisbane, but Schmidt may turn to Cronin in a bid to add some extra zip against a granite-like Wallabies defence.

Dynamic and abrasive with exceptional reading of the breakdown, the 32-year-old battering ram will be central to curtailing the Aussie’s influence up front.

With the reliable Cian Healy and Furlong alongside him in the scrum, the Men in Green have two titans capable of causing serious damage in and out of the set piece.

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