Joey Carbery and Robbie Henshaw to miss Ireland’s game against Australia

Bundee Aki available for selection after completing his seven-week suspension

Jack Crowley looks set to be among the replacements again for Ireland’s concluding Test of both their Nations Series and a memorable 2022 when they host Australia at the Aviva Stadium next Saturday (kick-off 8pm).

Despite losing the desperately unlucky Joey Carbery, who will complete his return to play protocols at Munster following his removal against Fiji for an HIA, as well as Robbie Henshaw (hamstring), Andy Farrell has not called up any of the capped outhalves outside the squad, namely Jack Carty, Ross Byrne or Billy Burns.

With Ciarán Frawley also sidelined for ‘a number of months’ according to Leinster due to the surgery he will undergo on his injured knee on Tuesday, this would suggest the Irish management are optimistic that Johnny Sexton will recover from the dead leg which prevented him from training last week.

The IRFU’s medical update says that in addition to Sexton, the other players who were injured against South Africa – James Ryan, Andrew Porter, Josh van der Flier and Hugo Keenan - will be “re-integrated as they return to fitness”. But the expectation remains that they will be named in the side at lunchtime on Thursday.


On the plus side, Jimmy O’Brien will complete the HIA process on Monday and is expected to be available to train from Tuesday onwards. Joe McCarthy returns to the squad having completed his return to play protocols, while Connacht centre Bundee Aki is available for selection again having completed a seven-week suspension and the coaching intervention programme.

He has been training fully with the Irish squad in the IRFU HPC this month, and Farrell and co look to have a straight choice at inside centre between Stuart McCloskey and Aki.

Ireland squad (v Australia)

Forwards: Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Tadhg Beirne (Munster), Jack Conan (Leinster), Max Deegan (Leinster), Caelan Doris (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Dave Heffernan (Connacht), Cian Healy (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Rob Herring (Ulster), Jeremy Loughman (Munster), Joe McCarthy (Leinster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Tom O’Toole (Ulster), Andrew Porter (Leinster), Cian Prendergast (Connacht), James Ryan (Leinster), Dan Sheehan (Leinster), Nick Timoney (Ulster), Kieran Treadwell (Ulster), Josh van der Flier (Leinster).

Backs: Bundee Aki (Connacht), Robert Baloucoune (Ulster), Caolin Blade (Connacht), Craig Casey (Munster), Jack Crowley (Munster), Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster), Mack Hansen (Connacht), Hugo Keenan (Leinster), Michael Lowry (Ulster), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster), Calvin Nash (Munster), Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Johnny Sexton (Leinster), Jacob Stockdale (Ulster).

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times