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Kearney and Ringrose return, Toner starts as Schmidt names team for All Blacks

The Ireland head coach has made four changes for Saturday’s much anticipated meeting with the world champions.

JOE SCHMIDT HAS named his team to face the All Blacks in Saturday’s November Test at the Aviva Stadium [KO 7pm, RTÉ2/Channel 4], with the Ireland head coach making four changes to his starting XV. 

After an outstanding performance off the bench last weekend against Argentina, Dan Leavy starts at openside flanker, while Rob Kearney and Garry Ringrose both return from injury. 

Garry Ringrose Ringrose returns to Ireland's midfield. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The other change sees Devin Toner reinstated to the second row, with Iain Henderson dropping to the bench.

Robbie Henshaw, Seán O’Brien and Conor Murray were all unavailable through injury. 

Kieran Marmion and Bundee Aki, who both rolled their ankle in Ireland’s record 10th straight win at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday, have come through to start.

Aki, who partners Ringrose in midfield, plays against his native country for the first time, winning his 12th Ireland cap after an excellent debut season at Test level last year.  

While three of his changes were injury-enforced, the big decision for Schmidt was in the second row department and it comes as no surprise that Toner — who has played more games than any other player during the Kiwi’s tenure — is back in. 

Despite Henderson’s consistent brilliance in the position, the Ulster lock is dropped to the bench as Toner’s organisation and composure at the lineout will be required to avoid a repeat of last week’s malfunctions. 


Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

He partners the undroppable and immovable James Ryan. 

Kearney’s return to the fullback position is a welcome boost, particularly given New Zealand’s aerial prowess, and the composure the 32-year-old brings in the air will be hugely significant against Damian McKenzie.

The Leinster 15 missed the games against Italy and the Pumas with a shoulder injury, but has made good progress in his comeback and is set to win his 87th cap at the weekend, and his 11th against Steve Hansen’s side.

Jordan Larmour drops to the bench, but again there is no place for Tadhg Beirne.  

Ireland:

15. Rob Kearney
14. Keith Earls
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Bundee Aki
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best (captain)
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. James Ryan
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Dan Leavy
8. CJ Stander.

Replacements:

16. Sean Cronin
17. Jack McGrath
18. Andrew Porter
19. Iain Henderson
20. Josh van der Flier
21. Luke McGrath
22. Joey Carbery
23. Jordan Larmour.  

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Ryan Bailey

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