Ireland have one final shot at beating New Zealand as the last leg of the summer tour takes them to Waikato Stadium in Hamilton. An historic first win over the All Blacks would be the ideal way to finish off a long and fruitful season.
2012 SUMMER TOUR THIRD TEST: Saturday, June 23
NEW ZEALAND v IRELAND, Waikato Stadium, 7.35pm local time/8.35am Irish time (live Sky Sports 1/RTÉ Radio 1 (DAB, LW 252 and RTÉ.ie))
Team News: The Ireland team to play New Zealand in the third Test of the summer tour at Waikato Stadium on Saturday has been named.
The selected team shows three changes, two in the backs and one in the pack, to the side that took to the pitch for last weekend’s second Test in Christchurch.
Paddy Wallace, who was called out as a replacement for the tour after Gordon D’Arcy returned home injured, goes straight into the side at inside centre in place of D’Arcy.
Keith Earls has recovered from the chest injury he picked up in the first Test and is selected on the left wing in place of Andrew Trimble, who moves to the replacements.
Peter O’Mahony, who came off the bench during the second Test, has been chosen to start at number 8 as Jamie Heaslip is ruled out due to a broken finger.
Ulster back rower Chris Henry comes into the matchday squad to fill the bench spot left after O’Mahony’s promotion to the starting line-up.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand team selected to play Ireland this Saturday in the third and final Test features six changes to the side that started last weekend’s last-gasp 22-19 victory.
Two of the changes are forced by injury and the other four are strategical switches, with the selection of uncapped lock Luke Romano a key move.
Aaron Cruden comes in for All Blacks vice-captain Dan Carter who has suffered a hamstring injury which has made him unavailable for selection.
There are two other changes in the backs – last weekend’s wingers Zac Guildford and Julian Savea are replaced by Hosea Gear and Ben Smith respectively.
New cap Beauden Barrett has been added to the replacements bench with Tamati Ellison also brought in as cover for the outside backs.
In the forwards, the 26-year-old Romano will make his Test debut in the second row, replacing Brodie Retallick who is on the bench. All Blacks captain Richie McCaw moves to number 8 to cover for Kieran Read who is out with concussion.
Sam Cane gets his first Test start and fellow flanker Liam Messam, who was called into the All Blacks squad this week, is on the blindside, while Adam Thomson is listed among the reserves along with the returning Keven Mealamu.
NEW ZEALAND: Israel Dagg (Crusaders); Ben Smith (Highlanders), Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), Sonny Bill Williams (Chiefs), Hosea Gear (Highlanders); Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), Aaron Smith (Highlanders); Tony Woodcock (Blues), Andrew Hore (Highlanders), Owen Franks (Crusaders), Luke Romano (Crusaders), Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), Liam Messam (Chiefs), Sam Cane (Crusaders), Richie McCaw (Crusaders) (capt).
Replacements: Keven Mealamu (Blues), Ben Franks (Crusaders), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), Adam Thomson (Highlanders), Piri Weepu (Blues), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), Tamati Ellison (Highlanders).
IRELAND: Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster); Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) (capt), Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster); Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster); Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Sean O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster).
Replacements: Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Dungannon/Ulster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Chris Henry (Ballymena/Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster).
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Pascal Gauzere (France), James Leckie (Australia)
Television Match Official: Matt Goddard (Australia)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): New Zealand to win: 1/11; Draw: 40/1; Ireland to win: 7/1
Pre-Match Quotes: Declan Kidney (Ireland) – “Paddy has always been a great player for Ireland. We talk about the squad ethic and what Paddy has given in the background, and in his 10 years’ service to the Irish team, has been fantastic.
“Keith’s stated preference is he prefers to play at 13 but Brian (O’Driscoll) is not one to give it up too easily. He is a great team player and he is happy to be back in. He has rehabbed quite well, which is a credit to the medical team and himself for getting over (the injury). He has trained well this week.
“Last week is over. New Zealand are well capable of doing to us what they did at Eden Park again.
“That fear needs to be within us, to know that it can happen unless we turn up, do our job, and do it to the best of our ability. We need to do that and add on that extra 10% that we didn’t have last Saturday.”
Steve Hansen (New Zealand) – “It (the changed back row) has probably raised a few eyebrows, but we’ve got a guy in the subs in Adam Thomson who has played a lot of rugby.
“His body’s been knocked about a fair bit and we just felt he could freshen up a bit rather than be involved in every part of the training runs we could freshen him and bring him off the bench.
“Richie (McCaw) is comfortable at number 8, he knows all the calls and has been there for the last month and it just made sense. It’s just a means to an end.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, I think he’s the best 7 in the world regardless of what other people might be saying around the place. Unfortunately Kieran Read is not here and the make-up of our loose forward trio means he has to switch to another position.”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meetings –
2008: Summer Tour: New Zealand 21 Ireland 11, Westpac Stadium; Autumn Test: Ireland 3 New Zealand 22, Croke Park
2010: Summer Tour: New Zealand 66 Ireland 28, Yarrow Stadium; Autumn Test: Ireland 18 New Zealand 38, Aviva Stadium