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Wallabies vs Ireland team news, Mark Nawaqanitawase to start

Wallabies rookie Mark Nawaqanitawase has been picked to make a surprise start against world No.1 Ireland in the Aviva Stadium pressure cooker on Sunday (7am AEDT).

The winger’s Test debut was one of the few positives to emerge from the shock loss to Italy last weekend and Dave Rennie has backed the 22-year-old to handle the occasion.

The more battle-tested Tom Wright and Andrew Kellaway were the starting wingers for the previous Test loss against France.

Watch every match of the Wallabies, All Blacks and Springboks tours on the home of rugby, Stan Sport. All matches streaming ad-free, live and on demand

The full Wallabies team will be announced on Friday at 12.45am AEDT.

It is expected that Bernard Foley will return to drive the team at five-eighth, going head-to-head with 37-year-old Ireland legend Johnny Sexton in Dublin.

Sexton has been shortlisted for the men’s world player of the year award along with Lukhanyo Am, Antoine Dupont and Josh van der Flier.

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”It just shows that age is just a number, doesn’t it?” Foley, 33, said.

“The thing about Johnny, he’s ultra-competitive and he must be doing everything right to keep himself at the top of his game.

“He’s looking after his body, he’s still got world class game management and skills so to see him doing it is great and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Sean Maloney and Morgan Turinui are back for the Autumn Nations Series as they try to digest the Wallabies defeat to Italy, review all the other international clashes over the weekend and look back on an epic RWC final from Eden Park

“I’ve got to try and make the most of every game and this one is a special one, testing yourself against the best in the world.”

Ireland have won 11 straight games at home and made history by beating the All Blacks in a series in New Zealand this year.

“Ireland have been the benchmark of consistency for a number of years and that’s probably why they’re No.1,” Foley said.

“That’s a great challenge for us, as a team we’re searching for that consistency.

“They’re going to be an incredibly difficult challenge but we’re embracing the opportunity to test ourselves against the best.”

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