MUNSTER recruit Joey Carbery will pair up with Conor Murray for Ireland’s first Test against Australia on Saturday, 11.05am.
The Reds new out-half has been picked by Irish coach Joe Schmidt ahead of the more experienced Johnny Sexton, who is named on the bench.
Cork’s Peter O’Mahony will captain Ireland for the Brisbane opener, as Schmidt makes six changes from the team that beat England on St Patrick’s Day.
Another Leesider, John Ryan, is named at number three, while Munster duo Keith Earls and CJ Stander also feature in the line-up.
As well as Sexton and skipper Rory Best, who didn’t tour due to a hamstring injury, Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Garry Ringrose, and Dan Leavy miss out, while Devin Toner and Sean Cronin are also omitted.
Given this is a three-Test tour, with the games every Saturday morning at 11.05am Irish time for the next three weeks, Ireland are clearly rotating their squad, but it is a gamble by Schmidt, particularly opting for Carbery, who has 10 caps, ahead of Sexton.
After agreeing to a switch from Leinster to Munster, Carbery is getting his reward at international level, and the 22-year-old will no doubt relish the opportunity to prove his class having spent much of the club season on the fringes.
Michael Cheika named his team to face Ireland earlier this morning, with David Pocock back from his international hiatus at blindside flanker and two starting debutants in No 8 Caleb Timu and hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa.
IRELAND: Rob Kearney (83 caps); Keith Earls (67 caps); Robbie Henshaw (33 caps); Bundee Aki (7 caps); Jacob Stockdale (9 caps); Joey Carbery (10 caps); Conor Murray (64 caps); Jack McGrath (47 caps); Rob Herring (3 caps); John Ryan (13 caps); Iain Henderson (38 caps); James Ryan (8 caps); Peter O’Mahony (47 caps); Jordi Murphy (20 caps); CJ Stander (23 caps).
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Johnny Sexton, Jordan Larmour.