BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Ireland's rugby team arrived in Australia on Saturday for a three-test series against the Wallabies without its captain Rory Best, who was ruled out of the tour with a hamstring injury.
Best sustained the injury while training for Ulster and had to sit out the club's 35-17 win over Ospreys which secured a place in next season's European Champions Cup.
Head coach Joe Schmidt said Munster hooker Niall Scannell had been chosen as hooker Best's replacement for the tour which includes tests in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
The first match is in Brisbane on June 9.
"He had a hamstring issue that kept him out of the game against Ospreys and we felt he was really going in the right direction and he would be ready for game one (against Australia), definitely for game two. But he's just not quite where we need him to be," said Schmidt.
The Grand Slam champions will train on the Gold Coast south of Brisbane for the early part of the week.
Ireland center Garry Ringrose was among a number of players who have never been to Australia.
"(We're) used to watching the early-morning fixtures back home when the Super Rugby comps and to actually come out here in Australia and play at some of the grounds and play against some of the players, it's always pretty cool," Ringrose told the Rugby Australia website.
This is the first three-test series between the Wallabies and Ireland, and the first Irish visit to Australia since 2010. Ireland hasn't won in Australia since 1979, but it has won three of the past five matches between the countries.
The other matches are scheduled for Melbourne on June 16 and in Sydney on June 23.