Picking An Ireland Team To Take On Australia This Weekend
Ireland host Australia this weekend as they hope to make it 3 from 4 in the Autumn series.
Michael Cheika’s side come to Dublin, unbeaten in their November tour thus far despite having a disappointing Rugby Championship and will provide stiff opposition for Joe Schmidt’s men.
Ireland will be without the likes of Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw this weekend with the former nursing a hamstring injury while the latter suffered a concusion as a result of Sam Cane’s controversial challenge in the game against the All Blacks.
Rob Kearney and CJ Stander are both a doubt for the game the weekend, with Stander being taken off early in the first half suffering from a concussion as a result of a challenge by New Zealand wing Israel Dagg.
Australia currently sit once place above Ireland in the world rankings following the series so far, but who should Schmidt start this weekend in this crucial tie?
1. Jack McGrath
McGrath has further cemented his position as one of the best looseheads in the world right now on this tour. The scrum will be huge against Australia, hence why Schmidt will need his best pack on the pitch.
2. Rory Best
Best seems to be getting better with age. The inspirational captain has been huge on this tour but will need to focus on getting his lineout sorted following a disappointing display this past weekend.
3. Tadhg Furlong
Ireland’s player of the series so far. Furlong was a man possesed this past weekend and will want ton continue his rich vein of form against the Wallabies.
4. Devin Toner
One of Ireland’s most underrated players. A mammoth a line-out time and an unbelievable work ethic. Will be disappointed in his lineout this past weekend and out to prove a point.
5. Iain Henderson
Having someone like Henderson on the pitch acting like an extra flanker will be crucial against the Wallabies monster back-row.
6. Peter O’Mahony
No point in risking Stander when you’ve got people like O’Mahony in reserve. It’s a long season with Champions Cup rugby kicking off again next month and Stander’s welfare needs to be looked after.
7. Sean O’Brien
Proved to Schmidt this past weekend that he’s back fit and ready to go again. Superb performance against the All Blacks and will need to be at his very best against the Wallabies once again.
8. Jamie Heaslip
When will people realised how important this man is to Ireland? Another world-class display against New Zealand on Saturday. Hitting form at the perfect time for club and country.
9. Conor Murray
Didn’t quite play as well as he did in Chicago this past weekend but proved he has overtake Aaron Smith as arguably the best scrumhalf in world rugby right now. Needs a huge game against the Wallabies if Ireland are to come out on top.
10. Paddy Jackson
Perhaps didn’t have his best game when he came on against the All Blacks but his experience will get him the nod over Carberry. Needs a big game to prove to Schmidt he’s Ireland’s number 2 or risks being overtaken by the Leinster playmaker.
11. Keith Earls
Zebo is another man that took a bruising against the All Blacks. Once again you have to look at player welfare, no point playing him when you’ve got someone as goos as Earls in reserve.
12. Luke Marshall
Henshaw is out so it makes sense to slot Marshall in a inside centre, being the only real natural player in that position Schmidt has in his squad.
13. Garry Ringrose
The young star was called into action a lot sooner than expected on Saturday but didn’t disappoint. His first real big start should come this weekend and there’s no doubt in our minds he’s ready for the occasion.
14. Andrew Trimble
Probably Ireland’s second best player on this tour behind Tadhg Furlong. Tommy Bowe is gonna find it almost impossible to overthrow his Ulster teammate come Six Nations time.
15. Jared Payne
Tieran O’Halloran can put his hand up for a spot here too in the absence of Kearney. Once again there’s a chance that Kearney will be ok and is back in training but when you have the likes of Payne and O’Halloran why risk the player’s welfare in what is going to be a hell of a long season. Time to finally see what Payne can do at fullback for Ireland we reckon.