New Zealand name ridiculously strong team to face Ireland 4 years ago

New Zealand name ridiculously strong team to face Ireland

Here we go now.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has made five changes to the XV that lost 40-29 to Ireland in Chicago. One could make a convincing argument that all five changes have improved an already fearsome line-up.


Out go Patrick Tuipulotu, Jerome Kaino, Ryan Crotty [injured], George Moala and Waiseke Naholo.

In come Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Anton Lienert-Brown, Malakai Fekitoa and Israel Dagg.

Whitelock and Retallick may be the most intimidating yet clinical second row units in world rugby. Their presence was sorely missed at Soldier Field as Ireland targeted the line-out and prospered at the breakdown.

Dagg, who made his Test name as a devastating fullback, is accommodated on the right wing due to his outrageous good form. He has scored 10 tries in his last 10 international outings - his best ever run. He missed out on the 2015 World Cup but refocused his efforts and looks as lethal as ever.

Israel Dagg celebrates with teammates after scoring a try 22/10/2016

21-year-old Lienert-Brown is the break-out star of the most recent Super Rugby season. His impressive form with the Chiefs earned him a Test debut. Saturday will be his seventh Test and he already has Rugby Championship tries against Australia and Argentina.

Fekitoa is a force of nature. He prospered after a move from Auckland to join the Highlanders. In just over two years, he has amassed 22 caps and his two-try salvo against Italy was enough for Hansen to give him a starting role.


Ireland name their match-day squad this afternoon but much fewer changes are predicted.

NEW ZEALAND (Caps in brackets)

1. Joe Moody (22)
2. Dane Coles (47)
3. Owen Franks (88)
4. Brodie Retallick (58)
5. Samuel Whitelock (82)
6. Liam Squire (7)
7. Sam Cane (39)
8. Kieran Read - captain (95)
9. Aaron Smith (56)
10. Beauden Barrett (47)
11. Julian Savea (50)
12. Anton Lienert-Brown (6)
13. Malakai Fekitoa (22)
14. Israel Dagg (59)
15. Ben Smith (59)

Replacements: Codie Taylor (13), Wyatt Crockett (56), Charlie Faumuina (44), Scott Barrett (2), Ardie Savea (10), TJ Perenara (27), Aaron Cruden (45), Waisake Naholo (10)

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