Joe Schmidt has made six changes to his starting team to face Australia including two surprise selections that see Eoin Reddan and Luke Marshall elevated to the starting XV.
Cian Healy, Paul O’Connell and Sean O’Brien were on the bench for last week’s relatively simple win over Samoa, while Jonathan Sexton was left out of the matchday squad.
As expected, all four were re-instated to the starting line-up with squad captain O’Connell also taking over match-day captaincy duties from number eight Jamie Heaslip.
O’Connell will be partnered by Devin Toner in the second-row, with Mike McCarthy dropping to the bench. O’Brien replaces Chris Henry, a concussion victim last week, and slots in alongside Peter O’Mahony and Heaslip in the back-row.
Healy replaces Jack McGrath, though the man of the match last week is rewarded with a spot on the bench. Rory Best and Mike Ross will pack down alongside the Leinster man in the front row.
In the backline, Sexton replaces last week’s starter Paddy Jackson at out-half.
While those calls were expected, it is the decisions to replace scrum-half Conor Murray and inside-centre Gordon D’Arcy with Reddan and Marshall respectively that will cause the most debate ahead of Saturday’s encounter.
Murray drops to the bench, while D’Arcy drops out of the squad with Ian Madigan and, in another surprise selection, the versatile Connacht back Robbie Henshaw set to provide cover for the outside backs. Jackson and Dave Kearney, who scored two tries last week, miss out on bench places.
The back three is the only unchanged unit in the squad with Fergus McFadden, Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney all retaining their places for the clash with Australia.
The forward replacements have also been reshaped. Sean Cronin retains his place as sub hooker, while McCarthty drops out of the starting XV to the bench. Munster tighthead Stephen Archer and Leinster back-rower Kevin McLaughlin have also earned places among the replacements.
The selection means 11 of the 15 players who started against Australia when Ireland won the 2011 Rugby World Cup pool encounter between the two will start this game.
Analysis: Jackman on Ireland v Australia
Ireland XV to face Australia: Healy, Best, Ross, O’Connell, Toner, O’Mahony, O’Brien, Heaslip, Reddan, Sexton, McFadden, Marshall, O’Driscoll, Bowe, Kearney
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).