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Ruthless Schmidt wields axe


Ruthless Schmidt to take axe to team for second Aussie Test - reports

Joe Schmidt has decided to make a raft of changes after Ireland’s defeat to Australia in the first Test.

The 18-9 loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane ended a 12-match unbeaten run and as a result Schmidt has decided to wield the axe for the second Test in Melbourne according to a report in the Irish Times.

Eight changes are expected, including an all-new front row. Coming in will be the Leinster trio of Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong.

Ireland were dominated at the breakdown at the Suncorp Stadium and as result one of the most in-form players in Europe, Dan Leavy, is restored to the team. Jordi Murphy may not even make the 23-man squad. The changes to the pack don’t end there, with Devin Toner preferred to Iain Henderson, who like Murphy didn’t put in his usual abrasive performance.

The only survivors from that defeat are James Ryan in the second row, with CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahoney also retained in the backrow

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There is a shuffling of the deck in the backs too, as expected Johnny Sexton returns instead of Joey Carbery, while Connacht’s Bundee Aki is also omitted, with the Leinster duo of Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose in at 12 and 13 respectively.

Keith Earls, who went off for a HIA in the first Test, is observing the return to play protocols, but Jordan Larmour or Andrew Conway could fill in if the Munster winger doesn’t make it.

The versatile Tadhg Beirne, who left the Scarlets to join Munster, could be in line for his debut off the bench.

Australia are set to stick with the starting XV for the second Test according the to the Sydney Morning Herald.

There will be no changes to the backrow despite the return to the fold of Ned Hanigan after a knee injury and the impressive performance off the bench from Crusaders loose forward Pete Samu

Michael Hooper, David Pocock and Caleb Timu keep their spots and speaking on Wednesday last weeks debutant Timu admitted to feeling nervous want to see improvements.

“I was pretty happy with how I went. I just want to get involved and touch the ball a bit more [this week] but overall I was pretty happy with my work-rate around the field and I just want to keep working and improving each week.”

Video: Caleb Timu speaks about second Test with Ireland

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Ruthless Schmidt to take axe to team for second Aussie Test - reports