All Blacks, Ireland name squads for Series decider

Autumn International - Ireland v New Zealand - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland - November 13, 2021 New Zealand players perform the haka before the match REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

With Ireland hoping to win their first test series on New Zealand soil, both sides have made limited changes ahead of what is set to be a heavy-weight battle.

Captain Johnny Sexton has overcome his injury scare to lead Ireland. The only adjustment to Ireland’s starting 15 comes for the injured Gary Ringrose who is replaced by Bundee Aki, with Robbie Henshaw moving out one position to wear the famous 13 jerseys.

Hugo Keenan, Jame Lowe and the impressive Mack Hansen will partner in the backfield, whilst Jamison Gibson-Park continues to torment his home nation starting at half back.

Number 8 Caelan Doris will again start alongside Josh Van der Flier and the workhorse Peter O’Mahony, with the Forwards all fit and maintaining their selection. Prop Andrew Porter will look to add to his two-try haul from Dunedin.

On the bench, Ireland has a vast amount of experience with over 300 Test caps coming from Winger Kieth Earls, Prop Cian Healy, and Conor Murray. The Irish will look to build on their dominance at set piece and continue to control territory and possession.

The under-pressure All Blacks have made several changes due to injuries and selection adjustments.

With Angus Ta’avao suspended for three weeks, Nepo Laulala comes in to start at tight-head prop, while Ofa Tu’ungafasi drops to the bench. Codie Taylor maintains his starting position at hooker while veteran Dane Coles comes onto the bench for the first time this series.

At lock Sam Whitelock is back from injury and joins Brodie Retallick, with the flanker combination of Scott Barrett, Sam Cane and Ardie Savea returning.

Out-wide, Will Jordan gets his first start for the series on the right wing, with Jordie Barrett and Sevu Reece keeping their positions. In the midfield David Havili partners Rieko Ioane who starts in his 50th test.

On the bench, the All Blacks have named two flankers with Dalton Papalii and Akira Ioane, with Scott Barrett to cover lock if required. The replacement backs of Folau Fakatava, Richie Mo’unga and ex Rugby League player Roger Tuivasa-sheck will be expected to bring speed and footwork late in the game.

The All Blacks will no doubt focus on discipline and keeping 15 men on the field this week. It is clear both sides don’t need any extra motivation for the 3rd and final test with Captain Sam Cane declaring ‘’it’s do or die”.

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Scott Barrett, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Jamison Gibson Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Keith Earls

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