Ireland ring the changes for series decider with Australia

Carrie Guzman
June 24, 2018

Despite running in five tries to two, the tourists have profited through six penalty goals to Australia's none, with sharpshooter Jonny Sexton booting Ireland to a 26-21 series leveller in Melbourne last Saturday.

Tui comes into the Wallabies team at outside flanker, with Caleb Timu dropping out and David Pocock switching to the back of the scrum.

Australia will be without the crisp service of scrumhalf Will Genia, who broke his arm last week and has been replaced in the starting XV by Nick Phipps.

Sean Cronin's fitness ahead of the Test series decider with Australia is under scrutiny, as the Leinster man sat out Friday's captain's run. Australia won the match 30-12 and have been victorious in 18 of the other 25 Tests they have played at the venue.

They were the only changes to the starting lineup made by coach Michael Cheika.

Cronin's inclusion in the team is one of five changes from head coach Joe Schmidt, who has brought in Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Jack Conan and Jack McGrath, with Leinster fly-half Ross Byrne primed for his global debut off the bench.

Jack Conan gets the nod at number eight, so captain Peter O'Mahony takes the openside flanker role and CJ Stander will shift to blindside.

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Garry Ringrose, Dan Leavy and Andrew Conway miss the game due to injury. Jacob Stockdale returns to the back three alongside Keith Earls and Rob Kearney.

He started on the bench in the first test loss in Brisbane but was not involved in the win in Melbourne.

Peter O'Mahony, CJ Stander, Bundee Aki, Sean Cronin, James Ryan and Rob Kearney.

Cheika said the Wallabies were making a concerted effort to concede less penalties, both with more accuracy on the field and understanding better what the referees were looking for.

Saturday's decider will be played at the 45,000-seat Sydney Football Stadium, and Rugby Australia said the match is a sellout.

"I think we'll be less conservative, you can't win finals without scoring tries and playing footy", Cheika said.

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