12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
The All Blacks squad, having arrived in Dublin on Sunday, trained at the Westmanstown Sports Centre on Monday afternoon where star fly-half Dan Carter was a notable absentee.
The 23-year-old Carter, who scored an immaculate 26 points in last Saturday's 41-3 whalloping of Wales in Cardiff, sat out Monday's session in Clonsilla with a strapped left ankle - said only to be a minor problem.
Otago's Nick Evans, a late replacement for knee injury Luke McAlister in the 35-man New Zealand tour squad, looks set to deputise at number 10 against Ireland on Saturday. Carter's ankle strain will have copper-fastened the decision in coach Graham Henry's mind.
Henry, who is defending the All Blacks' proud record of never having lost to Ireland in 17 Test matches, will name his side for the Lansdowne Road clash today (Tuesday).
A definite starter is world-class openside flanker Richie McCaw, who is set to skipper the All Blacks at the ground where he made his international debut back in 2001.
Another debutant from New Zealand's 40-29 defeat of Ireland back in November 2001, Aaron Mauger, should also come back into the backline equation for Henry with regular captain Tana Umaga set for a rest. Mauger played for Dublin club Suttonians in his early career.
While lock James Ryan sat out Monday's seesion with a knee complaint from the win over Wales, Ali Williams, a towering terror for the British & Irish Lions' lineouts during the summer, is primed for a recall having looked unhampered during training in cold and wet conditions at Westmanstown.
The 6ft 7in Williams, who plays for the Auckland Blues, had been suffering from a minor shoulder injury.