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Toomua and Speight to start as Australia make four changes for Ireland Test

Quade Cooper, Will Genia and Kurtley Beale are among a provisional 11 replacements named by Michael Cheika.

Speight in action against the Barbarians earlier this month.
Speight in action against the Barbarians earlier this month.
Image: David Davies

FIJIAN-BORN WINGER Henry Speight will make his Test debut for Australia in one of four team changes made for the Wallabies’ Test against Ireland on Saturday.

The 26-year-old has been knocking on the door for Test selection after some exciting attacking displays for the ACT Brumbies in this year’s Super 15 season.

“Henry has done all the right things to earn his selection, has had an outstanding Super Rugby season and deserves his opportunity to play for Australia,” coach Michael Cheika said.

“He is very passionate about representing Australia and we’re all looking forward to seeing him bring his best attributes to our game.”

In other changes made by Cheika following last week’s 29-26 loss to France in Paris, lock Sam Carter, back-rower Luke Jones and centre Matt Toomua come into the starting XV.

Jones, of the Melbourne Rebels, gets his first run-on opportunity for the Wallabies in his second Test match following his debut against France in Melbourne in June.

He displaces McMahon at blindside flanker, while Carter replaces James Horwill and Toomua takes over from his ACT Brumbies teammate Christian Leali’ifano.

“The other changes have been made to give the other players who have been knocking on the door an opportunity to start a Test match on this tour,” Cheika said.

“All our changes will bring a new energy into the team and I know everyone is looking forward to the opportunities our match against Ireland will bring.”

An extended bench has been selected, with late tour addition Kurtley Beale among them, with the final line-up to be confirmed and announced closer to the match.

The match is Australia’s fourth of their five-game European tour and will be followed by a final game against England at Twickenham next weekend.

Joe Schmidt will name Ireland’s starting line-up at 2pm this afternoon.

15. Israel Folau

14. Adam Ashley-Cooper

13. Tevita Kuridrani

12. Matt Toomua

11. Henry Speight

10. Bernard Foley

9. Nick Phipps

1. James Slipper.

2. Saia Fainga’a

3. Sekope Kepu

4. Sam Carter

5. Rob Simmons

6. Luke Jones

7. Michael Hooper

8. Ben McCalman

Replacements (Finalised eight TBC): James Hanson, Benn Robinson, Ben Alexander, Tetera Faulkner, Will Skelton, James Horwill, Jake Schatz, Will Genia, Quade Cooper, Rob Horne, Kurtley Beale.

- © AFP, 2014

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