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Ireland Team To Play New Zealand In Chicago

Ireland Team To Play New Zealand In Chicago

The Ireland coaches have named the team to play World champions New Zealand at Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday (kick-off 3pm local time/8pm Irish time).

The selected side shows seven personnel changes from last June’s third Test defeat to South Africa – five in the backs and two in the forwards.

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The back row combination of CJ Stander, Jordi Murphy and vice-captain Jamie Heaslip remains in place, with Munster’s Donnacha Ryan coming into the second row for his fourth Test start since February.

Wexford man Tadhg Furlong takes the tighthead spot alongside Rory Best, who captains Ireland for the 13th time, and Jack McGrath. It is Furlong’s second time to wear the number 3 jersey after making his first start against the Springboks in June.

There are a number of players returning from injury in the back-line, as the half-back pairing of Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray and centre duo Jared Payne and Robbie Henshaw are all reunited.

Rob Kearney, one of Ireland’s try scorers in their epic 2013 game against the All Blacks, will win his 70th cap at full-back, while wingers Andrew Trimble and Simon Zebo complete an experienced back-three that boasts 160 caps.

Leinster talents Joey Carbery and Garry Ringrose could make their senior debuts for Ireland off the bench. The pair, both aged 21, are included among the replacements along with Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Josh van der Flier and Kieran Marmion.

Speaking at the team announcement press conference in Chicago, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said: “We have tried to go with a little bit of experience (in the back-line), just because of the magnitude of the game and the quality of the opposition, to be honest.

“That’s a starting point for us, and once those younger guys do get on, that will give us an opportunity to assess them a little bit against a very, very high standard of opposition. At the same time it will give them an idea of what it’s like to play at the very, very top level.

“It’s a little bit daunting for them (Carbery and Ringrose) but it’s a great opportunity to learn. When they get out there I’ve no doubt the pace of the game will be pretty sharp. Those two youngsters, they can run all day and hopefully we’re not chasing shadows. Hopefully they can get a shot with the ball and demonstrate a little bit of the talent we’ve seen in them.”

He added: “I think whatever happens, as a group we’re looking forward to what we can learn from the game and how we can build from the game as a result of the effort we put in, the learnings we take and hopefully for the next three weeks we can see some evidence of that. And certainly into the Six Nations we would like to get back into the top end of that, certainly into that top two.”
IRELAND Team & Replacements (v New Zealand, Soldier Field, Chicago, Saturday, November 5, kick-off 3pm local time/8pm Irish time):

Player/Club/Province/Caps –
15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 69
14. Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 66
13. Jared Payne (Ulster) 16
12. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 22
11. Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) 25
10. Jonathan Sexton (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 61
9.  Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 50
1. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 33
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (capt) 97
3. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 8
4. Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster) 40
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 39
6. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 7
7. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 16
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) (vice-capt) 88


16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 52
17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 58
18. Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht) 2
19. Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 5
20. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 2
21. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 6
22. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) *
23. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) *

* Denotes uncapped player