Rugby-Australia ring the changes for clash with top-ranked Ireland

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Australia made sweeping changes to their team for Saturday’s test against top ranked Ireland in Dublin, reverting to a first-choice line-up after losing away in Italy last Saturday.

Only four of the starters from the 28-27 defeat in Florence — the first time Italy had beaten the Wallabies — remain in the side named by coach Dave Rennie for Saturday’s clash at the Aviva Stadium.

Mark Nawaqanitawase, who debuted last week, keeps his place on the wing while the centre pairing of Hunter Paisami and Len Ikitau also remain.

Allan Alaalatoa plays again in the front row after captaining Australia for the first time last week but James Slipper returns to captain the team in what will be his 126th test.

Andrew Kellaway moves back to fullback after playing on the wing in the opening two games of Australia’s European tour where they beat Scotland 16-15 but then lost 30-29 to France.

“We were all bitterly disappointed after last weekend’s performance (against Italy). We’re better than that and we need a response against Ireland on their home deck,” said Wallabies coach Dave Rennie as he named the team on Thursday.

“We’ve had a great week of preparation and welcome back a wealth of experience to the team this weekend. We’re excited by the challenge to play the number one side in the world.”

Team: 15-Andrew Kellaway, 14-Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13-Len Ikitau, 12-Hunter Paisami, 11-Tom Wright, 10-Bernard Foley, 9-Nic White, 8-Rob Valetini, 7-Michael Hooper, 6-Jed Holloway, 5-Cadeyrn Neville 4-Nick Frost, 3-Allan Alaalatoa, 2-Dave Porecki, 1-James Slipper (captain)

Replacements: 16-Folau Fainga’a, 17-Tom Robertson, 18-Taniela Tupou, 19-Will Skelton, 20-Pete Samu, 21-Jake Gordon, 22-Noah Lolesio, 23-Jordan Petaia.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Doha; Editing by Toby Davis)

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