All Blacks back at full strength for Ireland challenge

Date published: November 11 2021 - Planet Rugby

New Zealand have named a strong line-up to take on Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, with Ian Foster making just one alteration from the side that thrashed Wales two weeks ago.

After picking a much-changed outfit for the 47-9 victory over Italy, all the big guns return, with the only change coming in the backline.

David Havili drops to the bench with Sevu Reece coming into the XV. As a result, Anton Lienert-Brown shifts to inside centre with Rieko Ioane joining him in the midfield.

Havili is joined on the bench by Dane Coles and Finlay Christie, who replace Samisoni Taukei’aho and Brad Weber respectively after performing well against Italy.

Players are focused

Head coach Foster said: “We’ve had a great week here in Dublin. We travelled well from Italy and are back into our more traditional routine of hitting a town and then moving onto the next one.

“The weather has been great here and we’ve enjoyed training in those conditions and getting ready for what will be a massive occasion on Saturday.

“We obviously have objectives we want to get out of each training session and we feel we have done that well. The guys are focussed and we achieved what we wanted to achieve.”

Speaking on the changes in the starting backline, Foster said: “That’s the way we finished the Welsh game, with Anton moving in, Rieko moving to centre and Sevu on the wing. It’s a little bit of a reward for that combination.

“We’ve been able to use this series of games and the time together to try different things and thought a little change there would be good for us. We’re also pretty excited at the impact that Finlay, David and Richie will have off the bench.”

Foster added: “We’ve watched Ireland’s development this year with interest, particularly through the latter part of the Six Nations and last week’s big win over Japan. They are certainly playing with confidence and ambition and represent a formidable challenge.

“We have no doubt what Saturday is going to bring at a full Aviva Stadium. It’s a big occasion, rugby is back to Dublin in terms of full grandstands, so we know what it’s going to mean here, and we want that kind of stage. It’s big and it’s exciting and is what motivates this team.”

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock (c), 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 David Havili

Date: Saturday, November 13
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees:
Matthew Carley (England), Christophe Ridley (England)
Tom Foley (England)