RECAP: New Zealand v Ireland
READERS’ FORUM: Welcome to the World Cup quarterfinal match between New Zealand and Ireland in Tokyo.
Defending champions New Zealand are ready to conquer their nerves and seize the slightest opportunity when they take on Ireland on Saturday, a side that has beaten them twice in their last three meetings.
All Blacks captain Kieran Read said the fact his side hadn’t played since an academic run-out against Namibia on October 6, with their final pool match against Italy cancelled because of Typhoon Hagibis, would count for little.
Ireland, under Kiwi coach Joe Schmidt, has been a mixed bag in Japan and were beaten by the hosts before eventually recovering to finish as Pool A runners-up.
Prediction: You can get some good odds if you want to wager a few bob on Ireland. However, to bet your house on it. The smart money is on New Zealand to win by 12 to 15 points.
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New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Cody Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Jordie Barrett.
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Christiaan Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Angus Gardner (Australia)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)