Johnny Sexton returns as Ireland make eight changes for second Test

Ireland have made eight changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s second Test against Australia as Johnny Sexton returns at fly-half and Munster duo Niall Scannell and Andrew Conway start at hooker and right wing respectively.

Cian Healy, Scannell, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner and Dan Leavy all come into the pack for the Melbourne clash, with Sexton reunited with Conor Murray at half-back and Robbie Henshaw switching to inside centre to accommodate Garry Ringrose’s inclusion at 13.

Australia vs Ireland

June 16, 2018, 10:45am

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Keith Earls has been passed fit after coming through return-to-play protocols and moves across to the left wing, with Conway on the right as Jacob Stockdale drops out of the match-day 23.

Tadhg Beirne, who joins Munster from the Scarlets this summer, could win his first cap after being named on the bench alongside scrum-half John Cooney, who is rewarded for his fine debut season with Ulster.

Rob Herring is the replacement hooker as Sean Cronin is omitted, while Andrew Porter provides cover at tight-head prop.

Ireland lost 18-9 in Brisbane in the first Test, meaning they must win in Melbourne to keep the series alive.

Australia have named an unchanged team for the first time since Michael Cheika took over as Wallabies head coach in November 2014.

4:19 Watch highlights of Saturday's first Test in Brisbane as Australia ended Ireland's 12-game winning run

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia; 1 Scott Sio, 2 Brandon Paenga Amosa, 3 Sekope Kepu, 4 Izack Rodda, 5 Adam Coleman, 6 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 8 Caleb Timu.

Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Reece Hodge.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Cian Healy, 2 Niall Scannell, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Devin Toner, 5 James Ryan, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 7 Dan Leavy, 8 CJ Stander.

Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour.

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