Folau returns to face Ireland

Date published: November 24 2016

Israel Folau is one of a few big names that return to the Wallabies squad to face Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

Michael Cheika has brought Israel Folau, Sekope Kepu, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge and Rory Arnold back into the lineup, after giving them a lighter week in France, as the Wallabies bid to keep their Grand Slam attempt alive.

Rob Simmons will combine with Arnold in the lineout, continuing his resumption as the Wallabies’ lineout caller, with Adam Coleman injured against Scotland.

Lopeti Timani has been a casualty of a greater lineout focus against Ireland, Michael Cheika said, opting to bring Dean Mumm into the blindside flanker role, with Hooper resuming his spot at openside and David Pocock at eight.

Mumm was suspended for Australia’s clash with Wales and came off the bench in the second match against Scotland, with Cheika happy to lean towards Timani’s ball-carrying, but the balance has shifted for Ireland.

Timani has been named on an extended bench, with one player to be omitted ahead of Saturday’s clash, a move that will be dependent on whether the Wallabies want a forward-heavy six-two split or a five-three makeup.

Cheika said he felt the Irish would target their tall timber in the match, though the breakdown is sure to be where most eyes are, given the recent run of form of Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien and the destruction David Pocock inflicted on the French last weekend.

The Wallabies lost to Ireland in their last clash in 2014 at Aviva Stadium, Cheika’s first tour as Wallabies coach and they will be aware of the threat the home side poses, after they ended New Zealand’s record Test-winning streak three weeks ago.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore(c), 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: (one to be omitted) 16 Tolu Latu, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Sean McMahon, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Quade Cooper, 24 Sefanaia Naivalu

Date: Saturday, November 26
Venue: Aviva Stadium
Time: 17:30 local
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)