Late change for Ireland ahead of All Blacks Test
SQUAD UPDATE: Josh van der Flier will start for Ireland in their Test match with world champions New Zealand on Saturday after fellow flank Dan Leavy dropped out, an IRFU spokesman said on Friday.
Van der Flier played in the 54-7 win over Italy a fortnight ago but did not feature in last Saturday’s 28-7 victory against Argentina.
The 25-year-old, whose Dutch grandparents emigrated to Ireland in the 1950s, has played well for Leinster this season after returning from a cruciate ligament injury he suffered in Ireland’s Six Nations win over France in February.
His Leinster teammate Leavy, who was one of the new faces to star in Ireland’s Six Nations Grand Slam exploits last season, impressed against Argentina last weekend but failed to train on Thursday, with a spokesman saying he had general muscle tightness.
Jordi Murphy fills van der Flier’s place on the bench.
“From our point of view it doesn’t affect us that much, we are replacing one quality player with another,” said captain Rory Best.
“I think Josh and Dan are rather similar players. Josh will bring his game and fit in seamlessly,” Best added.
Ireland – revised: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Christiaan Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour.
New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.
Date: Saturday, November 17
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 19.00 (19.00 GMT; 08.00 NZ time Sunday, November 18)
Expected weather: Periods of clouds and sun. Very little chance of precipitation. High of 12°C and low of 6°C
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)