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Ireland lose talisman Johnny Sexton moments before Wallabies skirmish

By PA
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Ireland have been dealt a major blow ahead of their final Test of 2022 with captain Johnny Sexton scratched moments before kick-off.

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Munster fly-half Jack Crowley, who only made his Test debut last weekend, has been thrust into the Irish starting XV, with Ross Byrne added to Andy Farrell’s bench.

Sexton had been set to return from the dead leg which kept him out of his country’s 35-17 win over Fiji but did not warm up with the team before his absence was confirmed.

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Ireland are out to end a stellar 2022 seeking a record-equalling 12th consecutive home win, while the Wallabies will bid to bounce back from last week’s shock defeat to Italy.

Sexton was this week included as one of four men’s World Rugby Player of the Year nominees.

“It’s quite embarrassing really, in regards to you’ve heard me say plenty of times that we do this together,” he said of being up for the award, which will be presented to the winner on Sunday [GMT].

“When a coach gets any recognition, never mind the coaching staff that are top class in our group, the rest of the staff, the team and how everyone pulls together, we do it together.

“I’d 100 per cent take it as a team recognition.”

Sexton, however, won’t have the opportunity to advance his case for Player of the Year, nor Ireland’s case for a victory over the Wallabies.

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