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Crotty Comes In As New Zealand’s Only Change

Crotty Comes In As New Zealand’s Only Change

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has made one enforced change to the team that edged out England for Saturday’s GUINNESS Series match against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 7pm).

Ryan Crotty, who started at inside centre in the sides’ Chicago clash in November 2016, replaces the injured Sonny Bill Williams in the lone personnel change. He pairs up with his Crusaders team-mate Jack Goodhue, with Anton Lienert-Brown added to the bench.

New Zealand won 21-9 when they last visited Dublin two years ago, and there are only eight starters retained from that game, including Ben Smith which switches from full-back to the right wing. The others are Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Liam Squire and captain Kieran Read.

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Full-back Damian McKenzie, who was their only try scorer in that hard-fought win over England, Goodhue, Rieko Ioane and loosehead prop Karl Tu’inukuafe will all be playing against Ireland for the first time at Test level.

It will be Aaron Smith’s 82nd appearance this weekend as he overtakes Justin Marshall as the All Blacks’ most-capped half-back. Retallick and Whitelock will also set a new record for a New Zealand starting lock partnership, starting their 50th Test match together.

Their head coach Steve Hansen commented: “This will be another great challenge for our squad and one that we’re all really looking forward to. These are the types of Test matches that gets everyone up – it’s number one versus number two – and there’s a real excitement that is building as we get closer to Saturday.

“The earlier part of our week has been about getting our processes and clarity right, focusing on our core roles and the execution of our skills and then going out and training well. On Saturday we’ll be playing an opponent who will want to keep the ball for long periods of time, and if they aren’t getting what they want, then they’ll kick and try to pressure us.

“For us, we’ll need to be strong at set piece, both on our ball and theirs, and be prepared to work hard with or without the ball. When the momentum comes our way, we’ll need to take the opportunities that will come, as the team that makes the most of their opportunities will win the game.” 

NEW ZEALAND Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2018 GUINNESS Series Test Match, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, November 17, kick-off 7pm):

Player/Province/Franchise/Caps –

15. Damian McKenzie (Waikato/Chiefs) 21
14. Ben Smith (Otago/Highlanders) 75
13. Jack Goodhue (Northland/Crusaders) 6
12. Ryan Crotty (Canterbury/Crusaders) 43
11. Rieko Ioane (Auckland/Blues) 22
10. Beauden Barrett (Taranaki/Hurricanes) 71
9. Aaron Smith (Manawatu/Highlanders) 81
1. Karl Tu’inukuafe (North Harbour/Chiefs) 11
2. Codie Taylor (Canterbury/Crusaders) 40
3. Owen Franks (Canterbury/Crusaders) 105
4. Brodie Retallick (Hawke’s Bay/Chiefs) 73
5. Sam Whitelock (Canterbury/Crusaders) 107
6. Liam Squire (Tasman/Highlanders) 22
7. Ardie Savea (Wellington/Hurricanes) 33
8. Kieran Read (Counties Manukau/Crusaders) (capt) 116


16. Dane Coles (Wellington/Hurricanes) 58
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland/Blues) 24
18. Nepo Laulala (North Harbour/Chiefs) 15
19. Scott Barrett (Taranaki/Crusaders) 27
20. Matt Todd (Panasonic Wild Knights) 16
21. TJ Perenara (Wellington/Hurricanes) 53
22. Richie Mo’unga (Canterbury/Crusaders) 6
23. Anton Lienert-Brown (Waikato/Chiefs) 31