Australia beef up their forward pack for Ireland

Australia have named their team to play Ireland in Dublin at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday with three changes to their pack.

The Wallabies have beefed up their forward pack with Scott Fardy coming in at blindside flanker and Sekope Kepu starts at tighthead prop.

The front row change means that Ben Alexander drops out of the squad as he is being rested.

The 125kg (275lb) Kepu has been brought in by McKenzie, himself a former Test
prop, after Ben Alexander was rested on doctor’s orders.

The Wallabies were overpowered up front in their last meeting with Ireland,
a 15-6 loss in Auckland at the 2011 World Cup, and know they can’t afford a
repeat this weekend.

Elsewhere Rob
Simmons starts in his more familiar position of lock after playing blindside
flanker in last week’s 50-20 thrashing of Italy in Turin.

“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.

“It will be important for us to be extremely accurate at the breakdown,
but overall we’ve gone with a forward pack that is quite capable of dominating
in that area, especially with one of our best operators in Scott Fardy coming
back from injury.”

Australia have yet to record successive wins in 2013 and McKenzie added: “We’ll
be looking forward to the challenge and also to the opportunity of building
some momentum by winning back-to-back games for the first time this year.

“In terms of Ben Alexander, we’ve taken the advice of medical staff that
the best option for him this week was to have a rest.”

But the Australia back division remained unchanged for the third straight match
on tour.

“It’s pleasing that we are beginning to build strong combinations and
partnerships in our backs, including those players on the bench and on the fringes,
and we’re expecting the more time they spend together the better they will be,”
McKenzie said.

“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.

“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 will be bidding for their first win in Dublin since a 30-14 success
in 2005.

Australia

Israel Folau; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Nick Cummins; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Ben Mowen (capt), Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy; James Horwill, Rob Simmons; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, James Slipper

Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson Paddy Ryan, Sitaleki Timani, Liam Gill, Nic White, Christian Leali’ifano, Joe Tomane

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