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Cronin and Conan start as Schmidt picks captain O'Mahony at openside

Joe Schmidt has made five changes to his XV, while Ross Byrne is set for his debut off the bench.

Murray Kinsella reports from Sydney

JOE SCHMIDT HAS made five personnel changes to his starting XV as Ireland look to secure their first series success on Australian soil since 1979 with a win in Saturday’s final Test against the Wallabies in Sydney [KO 11.05am Irish time, Sky Sports].

Sean Cronin comes in at hooker for the clash at Allianz Stadium, having missed out on involvement in the second Test, while Jack Conan gets a start at number eight.

Sean Cronin celebrates winning Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Jacob Stockdale is back on the left wing, while Bundee Aki returns in midfield as Garry Ringrose misses out due to a foot injury.

Jack McGrath also comes into the starting team at loosehead prop, making up the front row with Cronin and Tadhg Furlong. Cian Healy has shaken off an AC injury to take a place on the bench.

James Ryan and Devin Toner form an unchanged second row, with Iain Henderson still nursing a knee issue, although the introduction of Conan at number eight means change in the back row, with CJ Stander at blindside flanker and Peter O’Mahony captaining the team from the unfamiliar openside slot. Dan Leavy’s sternum injury rules him out.

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton continue in the halfbacks, while Aki’s reintroduction at inside centre means Robbie Henshaw moves to 13.

The back three sees Keith Earls move back over to the right wing, where he started the first Test before a shift to the left last weekend, with Stockdale in on the left and Rob Kearney retained at 15. Andrew Conway misses out due to a hip pointer injury.

Uncapped Leinster out-half Ross Byrne is included on the bench, meaning Schmidt has used all 32 of his wider squad in the matchday squads in Australia.

Meanwhile, Wallabies boss Michael Cheika has named Nick Phipps at scrum-half in place of the injured Will Genia.

Lukhan Tui comes into the back row as Caleb Timu is dropped, meaning David Pocock moves to number eight. Ned Hanigan and Joe Powell are included on the bench as back row and scrum-half cover, respectively.

Ireland:

15. Rob Kearney
14. Keith Earls
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Bundee Aki
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Jack McGrath
2. Sean Cronin
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. James Ryan
6. CJ Stander
7. Peter O’Mahony (captain)
8. Jack Conan

Replacements:

16. Niall Scannell
17. Cian Healy
18. John Ryan
19. Tadhg Beirne
20. Jordi Murphy
21. Kieran Marmion
22. Ross Byrne
23. Jordan Larmour

Australia:

15. Israel Folau
14. Dane Haylett-Petty
13. Samu Kerevi
12. Kurtley Beale
11. Marika Koroibete
10. Bernard Foley
9. Nick Phipps

1. Scott Sio
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Izack Rodda
5. Adam Coleman
6. Lukhan Tui
7. Michael Hooper (captain)
8. David Pocock

Replacements:

16. Tolu Latu
17. Allan Alaalatoa
18. Taniela Tupou
19. Rob Simmons
20. Ned Hanigan
21. Pete Samu
22. Joe Powell
23. Reece Hodge

Referee: Pascal Gaüzère [FFR].

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Murray Kinsella

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