All you need to know about the clash between the world’s top two teams in Dublin
Autumn Internationals Ireland v New Zealand preview
It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for – Ireland v New Zealand. The world’s No 1-ranked side against the world’s No 2-ranked side. Dublin is set for a cracker!
Two years have passed since Ireland stunned the All Blacks in Chicago, the 40-29 victory their first over the Kiwis in more than a hundred years of trying.
New Zealand hit back in Dublin two weeks later in 2016, winning 21-9, while their previous Test in 2013 was full of drama. Ryan Crotty scored an equalising try with the last play of the game and Aaron Cruden secured a 24-22 win when he was allowed to retake the conversion.
The recent history between the two sides would suggest this is going to be a hugely competitive fixture and while Ireland weren’t as slick against Argentina last week as they had been during the Six Nations Grand Slam, they still won the game. The All Blacks, too, looked shaky against England but still left Twickenham with the victory.
Ireland love to retain possession and control the game in that way; New Zealand have shown they don’t need much ball to score points. It should be an absorbing 80 minutes.
What’s the big team news?
There are four new players in the Ireland starting line-up compared to the one that took on Argentina. Rob Kearney has recovered from injury to start at full-back, his aerial skills sure to be crucial against the All Blacks.
Garry Ringrose teams up with Bundee Aki in midfield with Robbie Henshaw ruled out with a hamstring issue.
In the pack, Devin Toner teams up with James Ryan in the second row in the hope of dominating the lineout and Josh van der Flier starts at openside. Dan Leavy was due to replace the injured Sean O’Brien at No 7 but he has since been ruled out by injury too, so van der Flier comes in.
New Zealand have made only one change to the side that beat England 16-15 last weekend, Ryan Crotty replacing the injured Sonny Bill Williams at inside-centre. Anton Lienert-Brown then comes onto the bench.
What have the coaches said?
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt: “I know their boys can’t wait to get into it and our boys are the same. But at the same time, we’ve got to get out there and give as good as we get. And that’s what will make it a fairly spiky contest.
“I’m not sure we’ve cooked up many surprises but you’d love to be able to create a little bit of time and space so we’re going to have to be a bit clever.”
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen: “You’ve got to admire what they’re doing. They hang onto the ball for long periods of time; they’re probably the team in world rugby that hang onto the ball the most.
“They’ll find a weakness. He’s pretty good, Joe, at finding a trick or two, so we’re expecting one or two coming our way.”
Any interesting statistics?
- The average winning margin of the last three Tests between these two teams is 8.33 points.
- Aaron Smith will overtake Justin Marshall to become New Zealand’s most-capped scrum-half by playing in his 82nd Test.
- Six Ireland players who started in the Chicago win also start in this Test – Rob Kearney and Johnny Sexton in the backs, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner and CJ Stander in the pack.
- Seven All Blacks starters remain in the XV from the Chicago Test – Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Owen Franks, Liam Squire and Kieran Read.
- Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock will start their 50th Test together, setting a new record for an All Blacks second-row pairing.
What time does it kick off and is it on TV?
Ireland v New Zealand, Saturday 17 November, Aviva Stadium
The match in Dublin kicks off at 7pm and is live on Channel 4 as well as BBC Radio Ulster in the UK. In Ireland, it is live on RTE2 and RTE Radio.
English referee Wayne Barnes is the man in the middle, with Mathieu Raynal, of France, and Italian Marius Mitrea as his assistants. Rowan Kitt is the TMO.
What are the line-ups?
IRELAND: Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton, Kieran Marmion; Cian Healy, Rory Best (captain), Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour.
NEW ZEALAND: Damian McKenzie; Ben Smith, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, Rieko Ioane; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Karl Tu’inukuafe, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Liam Squire, Ardie Savea, Kieran Read (captain).
Replacements: Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Scott Barrett, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Richie Mo’unga, Anton Lienert-Brown.
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