New Zealand make one change for Ireland Test

Ireland v New Zealand
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 17 November Kick-off: 19:00 GMT
Coverage: Radio commentary on BBC Radio Ulster; live text and match report on BBC Sport website.

New Zealand have made one change for Saturday’s game against Ireland in Dublin with Ryan Crotty replacing injured Sonny Bill Williams.

Centre Williams sustained shoulder damage in last weekend’s 16-15 comeback win over England.

Crotty’s promotion from the bench sees Anton Lienert-Brown drafted into the match-day 23 by the world champions.

The contest will see the world number one All Blacks taking on the team closest to them in the rankings.

“These are the types of Test matches that gets everyone up,” said New Zealand coach Steve Hansen earlier this week.

“It’s number one versus number two, and there’s a real excitement that’s building as we get closer to Saturday.”

Damian McKenzie<!–

Hansen again opts for two playmakers

Hansen has again selected two playmakers with Beauden Barrett named at fly-half and Damian McKenzie remaining at full-back.

Scrum-half Aaron Smith will play his 82nd Test to become the most capped All Blacks half-back in history, overtaking Justin Marshall.

In addition, Brodie Retallick and Samuel Whitelock will set a new record for an All-Blacks’ lock partnership, starting in their 50th Test together.

The New Zealand coach says Saturday’s squad is similar to the line-up he will be looking at as the All Blacks chase a third straight World Cup in Japan next year.

“The whole year we’ve been looking at combinations to make sure next year is really clear in our own minds,” he said.

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Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will announce his team for Saturday’s contest on Thursday afternoon.

With Sean O’Brien breaking an arm in last weekend’s 28-17 win over Argentina, one enforced change is certain in the back row and Dan Leavy looks favourite to be drafted in after impressing in his replacement role against the Pumas.

Fit-again duo Rob Kearney and Garry Ringrose are being tipped to return to the backline in place of Jordan Larmour and Will Addison.

Ireland’s line-out difficulties against the Pumas last weekend would also mean inclusion for giant lock Devin Toner alongside James Ryan in the second row, with Iain Henderson dropping to the bench.

Schmidt has a tight selection at scrum-half with Connacht’s Kieron Marmion hoping to hold off Leinster’s Luke McGrath’s claims for the number nine jersey.

Marmion scored a first-half try against the Pumas with McGrath also notching a second-half touchdown last weekend after his introduction.

New Zealand: Damian McKenzie; Ben Smith, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, Rieko Ioane; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read (capt), Ardie Savea, Liam Squire; Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock; Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Karl Tu’inukuafe.

Replacements: Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Scott Barrett, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Richie Mo’unga, Anton Lienert-Brown

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