Mon 11 Jul 2022 | 09:00

Maori All Blacks v Ireland - Teams and Prediction

Maori All Blacks v Ireland - Teams and Prediction
Mon 11 Jul 2022 | 09:00
Maori All Blacks v Ireland - Teams and Prediction
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THE SECOND CLASH: Veteran back Keith Earls will captain Ireland for the first time after coach Andy Farrell unveiled a second-string side on Monday for their second midweek match against the Maori All Blacks.

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Farrell has made three personnel changes to his starting team for Tuesday’s fixture in Wellington to that which opened the tour with a 17-32 defeat to the Maori in Hamilton on June 29.

The changes have all been forced by injury as they enter the final week of a gruelling tour, with Farrell eager to preserve his top players for Saturday’s series-deciding third and final Test against New Zealand in Wellington.

Ulster’s Michael Lowry will make his first start of the tour at fullback, prompting a backline reshuffle.

Jimmy O’Brien is switched from fullback to the left wing, pushing Earls to outside centre in place of James Hume, who suffered a tour-ending groin injury in the first Maori match.

Stuart McCloskey, who was called onto the tour as injury cover, replaces Bundee Aki at inside centre.

Farrell said he had no hesitation handing the captaincy to Munster wing Earls, who has never led his country in a 14-year, 97-cap career.

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“His standing and his status in the group are of the highest order, so that was an easy one,” Farrell said.

“It gave me a lot of pleasure asking him to do it. There’s no more deserving man to captain Ireland, he’s always been a leader, especially over the last five or six years that I’ve known him.”

The preview continues below…

New Zealand-born Aki was captain in Hamilton but he has been omitted pending probable selection for the third Test, following the head injury suffered by Garry Ringrose during Saturday’s second Test win in Dunedin.

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Another late call-up, Niall Scannell, replaces injured hooker Dave Heffernan in the only change to the midweek forward pack.

Prop Jeremy Loughman has completed the 12-day return-to-play protocols and will start, having been concussed against the Maori in Hamilton two weeks ago.

Lock Kieran Treadwell is the only starting player who was involved in the Dunedin Test, having come off the bench late in the 23-12 triumph.

“These guys have had to wait for another chance and they’re busting for that,” said Farrell.

“The Maori beat us on the night and thoroughly deserved that, so it’s a chance to show how much they’ve improved.

“They’ve had time to learn all those lessons – be more disciplined, be more accurate and understand what it takes to win a big game.”

Prediction

@rugby365com: Maori All Blacks by five points.

Teams:

Maori All Blacks: 15 Josh Moorby, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Bailyn Sullivan, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Connor Garden-Bachop, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Ollie Norris.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Max Hicks, 20 Caleb Delany, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Ruben Love, 23 Billy Proctor.

Ireland: 15 Michael Lowry, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Keith Earls (captain), 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jimmy O’Brien, 10 Ciaran Frawley, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Nick Timoney, 6 Cian Prendergast, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Jeremy Loughman.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Mack Hansen.

Date: Tuesday, July 12
Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.05 (08.05 UK & Ireland time; 07.05 GMT)
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant Referees: Christophe Ridley, Jordan way
TMO: James Leckie

PV: 40
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