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Fresh faces, Ringrose earns 12 shirt and a barnstorming Ireland back row

Joe Schmidt’s XV features four changes from the team that lost to the All Blacks last weekend.

JOE SCHMIDT HAS named his Ireland team and replacements for Saturday’s November Test against Michael Chieka’s Wallabies [KO 5.30pm, RTÉ 2].

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Ringrose at 12

After impressing off the bench last weekend, Garry Ringrose gets a shot at starting in Ireland’s 12 shirt on Saturday.

Garry Ringrose Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

It’s only the Leinster man’s second Test start, having worn 13 in the eight-try win over Canada two weekends ago. The 21-year-old is an outside centre in truth, but he did a fine job in plugging the hole left by Henshaw against the All Blacks.

With 18 carries, a mountain of ruck work and 10 tackles, Ringrose showed his willingness to roll the sleeves up and get stuck into the less glamorous side of midfield play. He was relentless with his work rate and coped well physically.

It’s positive for Ireland that Ringrose had virtually a full game alongside the composed Jared Payne last weekend and they will look to link up more intuitively in attack this time around.

Stuart Olding was absent from Ireland training today at Carton House and has not been named in the Ulster squad for this weekend either.

Earls gets his shot

Keith Earls most likely would have gone into Ireland’s first Test against the All Blacks in Chicago as a starting wing, but for his suspension for a dangerous tackle on Glasgow’s Fraser Brown in the Champions Cup.

Keith Earls Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

He had to watch on as Ireland won against the Kiwis for the first time ever, before laying down a marker in the win over Canada with a physical and energetic performance.

Simon Zebo kept his place for last weekend’s second meeting with the All Blacks, doing well again, but Schmidt has opted to give Earls a shot in the back three for this clash with the Wallabies.

The 29-year-old will be bursting with enthusiasm to seize his chance and help Ireland achieve a third win from four in November.

As for Zebo, he must count himself deeply unlucky after two strong showings against the All Blacks.

Henderson comes in

Having got 23 minutes off the bench under his belt last weekend, Ulster’s Iain Henderson starts for Ireland on Saturday.

Iain Henderson with Jamie Heaslip and Simon Easterby Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The 24-year-old often takes time to get back up to full match speed after injury, but Schmidt is backing the lock to reach the right pitch having full recovered from a shoulder problem in recent weeks.

Henderson did add a notable ruck impact off the Ireland bench against the All Blacks and his inclusion should allow Ireland to have more cuts at the Australian possession at the breakdown.

He also has a big job on his hands at lineout time in tandem with caller Devin Toner, particularly with Michael Chieka naming Dean Mumm in his team.

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First-choice back row

Josh van der Flier did another superb job off the Ireland bench last weekend, but Joe Schmidt will be hopeful of seeing his first-choice back row last more than 22 minutes this time.

Jamie Heaslip Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Stander is understood to have passed his HIA last weekend but Ireland took a cautious approach with him and kept the Munster man on the sidelines. Fully fit and fresh for this weekend, expect Stander to lead from the front.

Sean O’Brien delivered a superb display last time out, completing his first 80 minutes since January, and adding impact with virtually every carry, tackle or ruck hit. The Tullow man wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance, however, and feels there is more to come.

Vice-captain Jamie Heaslip carried the ball dynamically for Ireland against the All Blacks, bursting through Kieran Read to almost set up O’Brien early on and continuing in that vein throughout.

If all three back rows fire for Ireland, it would go a long way towards ensuring success against the Wallabies.

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Murray Kinsella

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