It’s a big game for…
Conor Murray: The Irish scrum-half, who has recently been described by no less a man as Brian O’Driscoll as the world’s best in his position, will go up against Aaron Smith, his challenger for that accolade. The 27-year-old gave a fantastic performance in Ireland’s win over the Kiwis two weeks ago, and a repeat showing will be needed from Murray if the Irish are to repeat that incredible victory.
Ireland’s stunning victory over New Zealand on 5th November in Chicago was their first win over the Kiwis in 29 attempts and 111 years. Ireland scored three tries before the break to lead 25-8. A strong and expected comeback from the Kiwis was counteracted by the Irish, who held on to end New Zealand’s astonishing winning streak at 18 matches.
Ireland were thrashed convincingly 60-0 in Hamilton in June 2012 in what was New Zealand’s biggest ever win against the Irish. The hosts ran in nine tries as they responded to severe criticism of their performance in the second Test, which had almost ended in an Ireland win.
Player to watch…
Brodie Retallick: The 2014 World Player of the Year returns alongside Sam Whitelock after not featuring in the Kiwis’ 68-10 victory over Italy. The lock stands at almost 6ft 9in and will be a formidable opponent for the Irish second-row pairing.
Ireland: Rob Kearney; Andrew Trimble, Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Jack McGrath, Rory Best, Tadgh Firlong; Donnacha Ryan, Devin Toner; CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Iain Henderson, Josh Van der Flier, Kieran Marmion, Paddy Jackson, Garry Ringrose
New Zealand: Ben Smith; Israel Dagg, Malakai Fekitoa, Anton Lienert-Brown, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Owen Franks; Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock; Liam Squire, Sam Cane, Kieran Read.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, T.J. Perenara, Aaron Cruden, Waisake Naholo
Referee: Jaco Peyper (RSA)
Past three meetings…
Ireland 40 New Zealand 29, Autumn International, November 2016
New Zealand 24 Ireland 22, Autumn International, November 2013
New Zealand 60 Ireland 0, Ireland Tour of New Zealand, June 2012
New Zealand: WWWWLW
Kick-off: 5:30pm, Saturday 19 November
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2
Ireland to win: 11/2
New Zealand to win: 1/9
(Odds provided by SkyBet)
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