Flanker Sean O’Brien and centre Jared Payne are fitness doubts for Ireland’s game against Australia on Saturday after missing training on Friday.
The duo are said to have “lower-limb tweaks” so Peter O’Mahony and uncapped Munster centre Rory Scannell have been put on stand-by for the Dublin game.
Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell said decisions on the fitness of O’Brien and Payne would be made “in the morning”.
The Irish are already without one of their regular centres Robbie Henshaw.
This has led Joe Schmidt to draft in two-cap Garry Ringrose and Payne’s absence would leave the Irish with a very inexperienced partnership.
O’Brien looked back to his rampaging best in last weekend’s bruising defeat by New Zealand and his absence would be a big blow to the Irish.
“We made a couple of decisions this morning to rest Jared Payne and Sean O’Brien and see how they are in the morning,” said Farrell, following Friday’s captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium.
Concussed Henshaw ruled out
On Thursday, CJ Stander and Rob Kearney were passed fit to start for but wing Simon Zebo has been replaced by his Munster colleague Keith Earls.
Ulster’s Paddy Jackson and Leinster’s Ringrose take over from injured Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw while the other change sees Ulster lock Iain Henderson in for Donnacha Ryan.
Fly-half Sexton has a hamstring strain, while centre Henshaw has been ruled out through concussion.
Henshaw’s absence means that Ringrose, 21, will start at inside centre after coming on for his Leinster team-mate early in last weekend’s game.
Ulster duo Luke Marshall and Stuart Olding were other centre options for Joe Schmidt but the coach has opted for Ringrose, who made his international debut at outside centre in the 52-21 win over Canada two weeks ago.
With fit-again Ulster lock Henderson partnering Devin Toner in the second row, Munster’s Ryan drops out of the match-day squad with Ultan Dillane named on the bench after missing the New Zealand game because of a knee strain.
Ireland skipper Rory Best will earn his 100th cap in Saturday’s game and will once again be partnered by Leinster pair Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong in the front row.
Cheika recalls big guns for Dublin contest
Australian coach Michael Cheika has made nine changes from last weekend’s narrow win over France as he recalls skipper Stephen Moore and other big-name players Israel Folau, Sekope Kepu, Rory Arnold, Michael Hooper, and Dane Haylett-Petty.
All five were rested from the Paris game as an experimental Wallabies side earned a 25-23 victory.
The Australian side has only two changes from the 23-22 win over Scotland two weeks ago as Dean Mumm’s lineout prowess sees him preferred to Lopeti Timani in the back row and Rob Simmons replaces injured Adam Coleman.
Squad captain Moore is named in an entirely changed front row from the Stade de France game as Scott Sio and Kepu also return.
Mumm is joined in the back row by Hooper with Arnold taking over from former Leinster player Kane Douglas at lock.
Ireland: Kearney; Trimble, Payne or Scannell, Ringrose, Earls; Jackson, Murray; McGrath, Best, Furlong; Henderson, Toner; Stander, O’Brien or O’Mahony, Heaslip.
Replacements: Cronin, Healy, Bealham, Dillane, Van der Flier, Marmion, Carbery, Zebo.
Australia: Folau, Haylett-Petty, Kuridrani, Hodge, Speight, Foley, Genia; Sio, Moore (capt), Kepu; Arnold, Simmons; Mumm, Hooper, Pocock.
Replacements: Latu, Slipper, Alaalatoa, Douglas, Timani, McMahon, Phipps, Cooper, Naivalu (one to be omitted).
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/38071654