Irish bench Sexton for Wallabies 1st Test

Jim Morton
Irish five-eighth Johnny Sexton (L) has been benched for the first Test against the Wallabies

Irish playmaker Johnny Sexton has been benched in a major selection shock for Saturday night's Test against the Wallabies in Brisbane.

Coach Joe Schmidt has preferred to start with Sexton's Leinster teammate Joey Carbery at No.10 among six changes for the Six Nations champions at Suncorp Stadium.

Australia had been preparing all week for the kicking and playmaking threat the 73-Test five-eighth would bring, but Schmidt decided to try to freshen him up for the rest of the three-Test series at the end of a long, taxing season.

Flanker Peter O'Mahony will captain the Irish, with skipper Rory Best sidelined by injury, while former Chiefs three-quarter Bundee Aki will be a threat to Australia at inside centre.

As well as Sexton, who is the only change to the backline who had beaten England in their last Six Nations clash, Schmidt has benched veteran front-rowers Cian Healy and Sean Cronin.

IRELAND:

Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Joey Carbery, Conor Murray; CJ Stander, Jordi Murphy, Peter O'Mahony (capt), James Ryan, Iain Henderson, John Ryan, Rob Herring, Jack McGrath.

Res: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Tadh Furlong, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kirean Marmion, Johnny Sexton, Jordan Lamour.