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Wallabies vs Ireland, Australian team named for Test at Aviva Stadium

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named what he views as his strongest available team for Sunday’s (7am AEDT) showdown with world No.1 Ireland in Dublin.

Rennie fielded a largely second string side in the humiliating, historic loss to Italy and had always targeted the Ireland game as the one to unveil his premier XV.

Captain James Slipper, flanker Michael Hooper and halves Nic White and Bernard Foley will start at the Aviva Stadium along with exciting winger Mark Nawaqanitawase in just his second Test.

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With Tom Banks again unavailable through injury, Andrew Kellaway shifts to fullback where he can expect a busy night combating the wily Johnny Sexton.

Fullback Jock Campbell is the man to make way in the back three.

“Jock was nowhere near his best on the weekend,” Rennie said.

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“He was crook late in the week and he was probably a bit flat on game day. We still rate him. He’s certainly still in the reckoning for Wales (the following week)…

“Kells has attacked very well at 15 for us. We want to get Tom (Wright) and Mark on the field. We tossed up whether we played Tom at fullback or Kells.

“Tom and Kells are a couple of guys who communicate very well and have a good understanding of our system.

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“They have good kicking games, which will be important.”

Sexton, the legendary 37-year-old five-eighth, declared himself fit for the match after picking up a leg injury in the win over the Springboks earlier this month.

“Last week was a bit of a struggle with swelling and fluid and stuff like that,” Sexton said.

“It was just managing that and then making sure I get the right amount of training in this week to be able to perform but also not do too much that swells it up again.

“It’s good to go, feels good and I’m ready.”

Sexton was prepared for some unpredictable Wallabies tactics and their best shot after the botched Italian job.

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“Teams are going to come after us in a different way because we’re the No.1 team in the world,” he said.

Jimmy O’Brien, who made his debut off the bench in the win over South Africa and started at fullback against Fiji, will run out on the left wing for Ireland.

Australian-raised Mack Hansen was shifted from the left wing to the right in place of Robert Baloucoune.

IRELAND (15-1): Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Stuart McCloskey, Jimmy O’Brien, Jonathan Sexton (c), Jamison Gibson-Park, Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Peter O’Mahony, James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Tadhg Furlong, Dan Sheehan, Andrew Porter

Reserves: Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Joe McCarthy, Jack Conan, Craig Casey, Jack Crowley, Bundee Aki.

WALLABIES (15-1): Andrew Kellaway, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Tom Wright, Bernard Foley, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper, Jed Holloway, Cadeyrn Neville, Nick Frost, Allan Alaalatoa, Dave Porecki, James Slipper (c)

Reserves: Folau Fainga’a, Tom Robertson, Taniela Tupou, Will Skelton, Pete Samu, Jake Gordon, Noah Lolesio, Jordan Petaia

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