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Number one v number two: All Blacks name their side for Ireland showdown

New Zealand have made one change from their win over England.

Ireland face the Haka in Dublin in 2016.
Ireland face the Haka in Dublin in 2016.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE ALL BLACKS have named their team ahead of Saturday evening’s highly-anticipated meeting with Joe Schmidt’s Ireland at the Aviva [kick-off 7pm].

Steve Hansen has made just one change to his matchday 23 that beat England last weekend. Ryan Crotty starts in place of the injured Sonny Bill Williams, while Anton Lienert-Brown joins the bench.

Aaron Smith is set to play his 82nd Test match and become the most-capped All Blacks scrum-half in history, while the lock partnership of Brodie Retallick and Samule Whitelock will also write their own little bit of history as they start in their 50th Test together.

“This will be another great challenge for our squad and one that we’re all really looking forward to,” Hansen said.

“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’s 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.”

He added: “As always, we’ve been given a warm welcome by the Irish public and we look forward to playing our part in what will be a wonderful game at one of the great rugby stadiums.”

The All Blacks and Ireland have locked horns 30 times. Ireland won once, there was one draw and the rest was a clean sweep to New Zealand.

The All Blacks matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets):

15. Damian McKenzie
14. Ben Smith
13. Jack Goodhue
12. Ryan Crotty
11. Rieko Ioane
10. Beauden Barrett
9. Aaron Smith

8. Kieran Read (captain)
7. Ardie Savea
6. Liam Squire
5. Samuel Whitelock
4. Brodie Retallick
3. Owen Franks
2. Codie Taylor
1. Karl Tu’inukuafe

Replacements:

16. Dane Coles 
17. Ofa Tuungafasi 
18. Nepo Laulala 
19. Scott Barrett
20. Matt Todd 
21. TJ Perenara 
22. Richie Mo’unga
23. Anton Lienert-Brown

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Emma Duffy

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