DUBLIN: The Wallabies will welcome back breakdown pest Scott Fardy and keep fetcher Liam Gill on the bench in anticipation of a fierce contact battle against Ireland at the weekend.

Coach Ewen McKenzie will also rest tighthead Ben Alexander and start versatile NSW prop Sekope Kepu, and move Rob Simmons back to the second row at the expense of Sitaleki Timani. James Horwill will start alongside Simmons, while influential hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau will make his long-awaited return to Test rugby via the bench.

Australia are bracing for a repeat of their 2011 World Cup pool match experience, where Ireland employed the "choke" tackle to devastating effect against the Wallabies.

While new coach Joe Schmidt has signalled an reinvigoration of Ireland's attack, McKenzie said the battle for possession would come first.

"Patience will be an important aspect of the game. The two guys [Ireland] commit to the tackle, the choking tackle or whatever it is, will be pretty aggressive and effective, and that means the other guys are still on their feet and in the defensive line," he said.

"You're going to have to work hard. There are going to be holes in the defensive line but if you run into it and do it wrong, and they hold you up, you're in trouble.

"There's a lot of detail in how we manage that in attack. It's not a matter of rolling out and belligerently doing what you do, you have to think it through. You have to play away from their strengths or try and negate that, and find a way to impose your game. It's going to be a challenge for sure."

McKenzie has kept faith with the back line that scored seven tries against Italy a week ago, backing potent but inexperienced centre Tevita Kuridrani to go head-to-head with Ireland midfield great Brian O'Driscoll.

Joe Tomane, Christian Lealiifano and Nic White line up on the bench again alongside forwards Gill, Timani, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan and Polota-Nau.

This Test will be Ryan's first involvement on the tour and came after medical staff recommended that Alexander be rested this week.

McKenzie said he was expecting big things from Waratahs teammates Ryan and Kepu, who started against South Africa in Brisbane during the Rugby Championship but has been used off the bench since then.

"[Kepu] probably got a bit excited and burnt himself out a bit earlier in the game than we would have liked, so we've worked hard on his conditioning," the coach said. "Technically he's very good at scrum time, but the game is about balance. He's probably one of our most effective tackling forwards, so he can change the game, he's a very powerful player. It's about getting the energy in the right moments."

Polota-Nau's appearance could not have come sooner for the Wallabies, who have missed his technical excellence at scrum time. He has never played under the new laws, which demand a lot of the hooker, and is in that way a gamble for McKenzie.

But his impact around the park could also be key in a match expected to be a tight and hugely physical affair.

"We admitted up front that we picked him pretty much on reputation, he hadn't done much training, so we've been putting a bit of work into him the last couple of weeks and now we feel that he's in a position to go on to the field," McKenzie said. "I had him at the Waratahs so I know what he's capable of. But since that time he's developed a strong scrummaging reputation. I actually want to see what sort of difference he can make in a game."

Australia will have all guns blazing at ruck time this weekend, with two specialist openside breakaways and the abrasive Fardy, who has made himself indispensible at the breakdown since his Test debut this year. Fardy sat out last week's Test against Italy after being concussed at Twickenham two weeks ago.

"This game is about the breakdown and how we handle that side of it," McKenzie said. "The way we pick the team is to recognise what this game's about. And to play the game we want we need to have the quality of set piece possession and ruck possession.

"Otherwise they'll be doing everything they can to slow it down and choke the ball, so we've got to be able to play through that."

Australia: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Nick Cummins, Quade Cooper (vc), Will Genia, Ben Mowen (c), Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, James Slipper. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Sitaleki Timani, Liam Gill, Nic White, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Tomane.