Ireland's expected team to face New Zealand includes four changes 2 years ago

Ireland's expected team to face New Zealand includes four changes

The return of two Soldier Field heroes and young blood to test the world champions.

Ireland are expected to make four changes when Joe Schmidt confirms his starting line-up on Thursday afternoon.

Advertisement

Sean O'Brien, Robbie Henshaw and Conor Murray were all ruled out of the Guinness Series, over the space of 48 hours, but Rob Kearney and Garry Ringrose returned to full training on Monday and Tuesday. Bundee Aki and Kieran Marmion were not pushed hard on Monday but took part in the full session on Tuesday.

Two of the changes are due to players coming in for injured parties. Dan Leavy is expected to take the place of O'Brien, with Ringrose coming in for Henshaw.

The other switches should see Kearney returning to take the No.15 jersey off Jordan Larmour, while Devin Toner is set to come in for Iain Henderson. Speaking about possible changes on Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby, Andrew Trimble stressed how strong Ireland's second and back row options are:

"I thought Iain Henderson went really well [against Argentina], but... you need to get that lineout sorted, Dev did really well when he came on.

"This could change, if you played the All Blacks every weekend, this could change every single week, but this is the big one, you need to get it right"

Elsewhere in the XV, Marmion should hold off the challenge of Luke McGrath to start at scrum-half beside Johnny Sexton.

The rest of the starting team is as most rugby fans, and pundits, have predicted. Rory Best and CJ Stander will both start, despite coming in for criticism from some quarters.

Advertisement

The biggest call may be who to cover the backline off the bench. Will Addison, Andrew Conway and Larmour are all set to contest for that No.23 jersey, with Larmour the favourite to get that spot.

OUR IRELAND XV

Cian Healy
Rory Best
Tadhg Furlong

Devin Toner
James Ryan

Peter O'Mahony
Dan Leavy
CJ Stander

Kieran Marmion
Johnny Sexton

Jacob Stockdale
Bundee Aki
Garry Ringrose
Keith Earls

Rob Kearney

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Iain Henderson, Josh van der Flier, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour.

Ireland will name their team to face New Zealand on Thursday afternoon.