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Watch your back, Johnny

Aussie coach Cheika warns Sexton as rival Carbery claims Test place

By Ruaihdri O'Connor

Michael Cheika has warned Johnny Sexton that young gun Joey Carbery is coming for him after learning that coach Joe Schmidt had decided to start the 22-year-old for tomorrow's first Test against Australia.

Recalling how a youthful Sexton once banged down his own door demanding Leinster selection a decade ago, the Wallabies supremo said Ireland's star man will be wary of handing opportunities to the Munster-bound out-half.

Schmidt has made six changes to the team Cheika watched beat England to secure the Grand Slam at Twickenham, with Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Sexton ready to make a big impact off the bench.

Three Ulster players are included, as reported in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph - Iain Henderson, Jacob Stockdale and Rob Herring - but there is no place for fancied John Cooney.

Having seen Carbery play for his old side Leinster, Cheika said he was not overly surprised to see him named in Schmidt's starting XV for tomorrow's Test in Brisbane.

"Maybe, maybe not; maybe they want to give him a rest, maybe that was the deal to have a rest and play a couple," he said.

"You'd be a brave man telling Sexton he wasn't playing. I tell you right now, I had to deal with him for a few years, telling him he wasn't playing, he almost ripped my head off every time.

"The other lad (Joey Carbery) is a fine player. I've seen him play a lot on telly and live. He's got a real skill-set.

"To be honest, I don't think Johnny will be keen to give him the chance to play either."

Cheika was full of praise for the visiting side ahead of tomorrow morning's meeting at Suncorp Stadium (11.05am BST).

"They're the best team Ireland has had since the start of their rugby history," he said.

"They're coming down here as No.2 in the world. They can claim that they're underdogs as much as they like, but they're certainly going to be the favourites when you go off the back of the season they've had.

"The consistency of the way they play, they've got a lot of self-belief.

"They're coming here believing that they can win 3-0, no doubt about it from what I've read and seen."

Cheika will hand debuts to hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa and No.8 Caleb Timu, with Pete Samu named on the bench.

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