Sexton among eight Ireland changes for second Test v Australia

Second Test: Australia v Ireland
Date: Saturday, 16 June Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne Kick-off: 11:00 BST
Coverage: Text commentary and match report on BBC Sport website

The return of Johnny Sexton at fly-half is one of eight personnel changes to the Ireland team for Saturday’s second Test against Australia in Melbourne.

Munster wing Andrew Conway and Leinster centre Garry Ringrose come in for a game which Ireland must win to level the series, having lost 18-9 last week.

Cian Healy, Niall Scannell and Tadhg Furlong form an entirely new front row.

Devin Toner replaces Iain Henderson in the second row, with Dan Leavy in for Jordi Murphy in the back row.

Injury concern Keith Earls has completed the return to play protocols and came through training on Thursday after being taken off during the first half of the first Test.

Earls switches from the right to the left wing to facilitate the inclusion of Munster team-mate Conway.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will hope that the inclusion of Leavy in the number seven jersey will help his side compete more effectively with the Wallabies at the breakdown.

Tadhg Beirne is in line to make his debut off the bench at Suncorp Stadium.

Schmidt opted to rest a number of Leinster players for the opening game of the three-Test series in Brisbane on Saturday following the Irish province’s busy and successful start to the season.

Joey Carbery occupied the number 10 shirt until Sexton’s introduction midway through the second half.

Carbery, Jack McGrath, Rob Herring and Jordi Murphy move to the replacements’ bench, while Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, John Ryan and Iain Henderson drop out of the 23-man matchday squad.

Ireland’s defeat brought to an end their 12-game unbeaten run.

Australia coach Michael Cheika has named an unchanged Australia line-up for the first time in his four-year tenure for the second Test.

It is the only time Cheika has retained the same match-day squad for back-to-back Tests in his 46 games in charge, after taking the reins in November 2014.

Australia: I Folau; D Haylett-Petty, S Kerevi, K Beale, M Koroibete; B Foley, W Genia; C Timu, M Hooper (capt), D Pocock; A Coleman, I Rodda; S Kepu, B Paenga-Amosa, S Sio.

Replacements: T Latu, T Robertson, T Tupou, R Simmons, L Tui, P Samu, N Phipps, R Hodge.

Ireland: R Kearney; A Conway, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, K Earls; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, N Scannell, T Furlong; D Toner, James Ryan; P O’Mahony, D Leavy, CJ Stander.

Replacements: R Herring, J McGrath, A Porter, T Beirne, J Murphy, J Cooney, J Carbery, J Larmour.

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