/ Rugby

Australia shuffle pack for Ireland showdown

Updated: Thursday, 14 Nov 2013 18:39 | Comments

Sekope Kepu replaces Ben Alexander in the Australian front row
Sekope Kepu replaces Ben Alexander in the Australian front row

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McKenzie has called up prop Sekope Kepu in place of the rested Ben Alexander and recalled flanker Scott Fardy for the Test against Ireland in Dublin.

Fardy's return means that Rob Simmons, who wore the number six shirt in the 50-20 victory over Italy last week, returns to his normal position in the second row with Sitaleki Timani dropping to the bench.

Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau will also take his place on the bench after missing the entire international season with a broken arm and hamstring injury.

Tighthead prop Alexander's absence allows New South Wales Waratah Paddy Ryan the prospect of winning his second cap from the bench.            

Having the abrasive Fardy back on the flank as well as Timani and Polota-Nau to inject from the bench will be a boost for the Wallabies in what McKenzie expects to be a tough encounter in the tackle area.
              
"The breakdown is always a key area to any game, but Ireland has been especially vocal this week on the importance they are placing on attacking us there," McKenzie said.

"We've gone with a forward pack that is quite capable of dominating" - Ewen McKenzie             

McKenzie, who took over from Robbie Deans after the Lions series defeat, has named an unchanged backline for a third match in a row. 

"They've been able to find the try line quite a bit over the past month and you can sense they are feeling more comfortable and confident in each other and how we want to play the game," he said.              

"Still, we're under no illusion that these games are won up-front, and we'll continue to have high expectations that our forwards will provide us with a strong platform from which to play from."
              
Australia XV to play Ireland: Israel Folau; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Nick Cummins; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; James Slipper, Stephen Moore, Sekope Kepu; James Horwill, Rob Simmons; Ben Mowen (captain), Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy.              

Replacements: Tatafu Polota Nau, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Sitaleki Timani, Liam Gill, Nic White, Christian Leali'lifano, Joe Tomane.

Live television coverage of Ireland v Australia from 17:00 on Saturday 16 November on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only). Live radio coverage on Saturday Sport from 14:45 on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).

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