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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 19 September, 2019
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Powerful centre Laumape joins All Blacks squad ahead of Ireland clash

Sonny Bill Williams will miss the game in Dublin on Saturday.

THE ALL BLACKS have added powerful Hurricanes centre Ngani Laumape to their squad ahead of Saturday’s clash with Ireland in Dublin.

Laumape links up with Steve Hansen’s squad as injury cover for Sonny Bill Williams, who was replaced in the first half of the Kiwis’ win over England on Saturday.

A shoulder issue means Williams will be missing against Joe Schmidt’s Ireland this weekend, although he has remained with the All Blacks and hopes to be fit in time to face Italy on 24 November.

Damian McKenzie celebrates scoring his sides first try with Ryan Crotty and Aaron Smith Ryan Crotty is set to start at 12 against Ireland. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Williams’ absence means Ryan Crotty is set to start in the 12 shirt for the All Blacks against Ireland, having delivered an excellent performance off the bench in Twickenham.

Hansen is also likely to be considering a change at fullback for the meeting with Schmidt’s side, with Ben Smith potentially moving into the 15 shirt from the wing after Damian McKenzie had some trouble in the air against England.

McKenzie’s attacking threat is a huge plus but Smith’s reliability at the back could be comforting versus Ireland. If Smith does move to fullback, Waisake Naholo would be in line to come into the team on the right wing.

With Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett set to steer the All Blacks ship from the halfback slots, Jack Goodhue is likely to continue at outside centre and Rieko Ioane should be on the left wing again.

With loosehead prop Joe Moody out injured, Karl Tu’inukuafe is set for another start in the front row alongside tighthead Owen Franks and hooker Codie Taylor – though Dane Coles continues to build towards full match fitness and sharpness.

The sublime Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock should lock down together again, while captain Kieran Read and openside Ardie Savea also look nailed on.

Liam Squires generally provides impact in the carry and tackle but Hansen may be tempted to bring Scott Barrett into his starting team to provide another strong lineout option to target Ireland in the manner Argentina did on Saturday.

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Murray Kinsella

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