Leon MacDonald, Scott Robertson, Greg Somerville and Mark Robertson return to the All Black squad for Saturday’s Test but there is no room for Christian Cullen, try scorer against Italy last Saturday
Cullen will return to club rugby this weekend despite a good showing against Italy and it’s likely that Chris Jack – a non playing reserve against Italy – will also be in the side.
All Black coach John Mitchell said in a statement that “we have a different challenge on Saturday against Ireland to the one faced against Italy. The players selected are the ones we feel are best suited for this particular game.”
Coaching co-ordinator Robbie Deans felt that “the intensity level is going to go up for this one. We just won’t be able to play with the sort of inconsistency that was there against the Italians.”
“Ireland had us on the rack in Dublin last November. They have game-breakers in Keith Wood and Brian O’Driscoll and we will have to be on our toes against them.”
The New Zealand squad is:
Leon MacDonald (Canterbury), Doug Howlett (Auckland), Jonah Lomu (Wellington), Caleb Ralph (Canterbury), Tana Umaga (Wellington)/Mark Robinson (Canterbury), Daryl Gibson (Canterbury), Aaron Mauger (Canterbury), Andrew Mehrtens (Canterbury), Justin Marshall (Canterbury), Byron Kelleher (Otago), Scott Robertson (Canterbury), Taine Randell (Otago), Richard McCaw (Canterbury), Marty Holah (Waikato), Reuben Thorne (Canterbury) (captain), Chris Jack (Canterbury), Norm Maxwell (Canterbury), Greg Somerville (Canterbury), Dave Hewett (Canterbury), Joe McDonnell (Otago), Tom Willis (Otago), Mark Hammett (Canterbury).