Ireland wrote themselves into rugby’s history books in Chicago a fortnight ago when they produced a flawless performance to overcome the All Blacks for the first time ever. An impressive 40-29 win for the Irish has spirits high going into tomorrow’s epic clash.
However, New Zealand will not take defeat at the hands of the Irish lightly and are likely to come out all guns blazing tomorrow.
The ball is very much in the Irish court, but could the pressure of replicating their performance from that historic night in Chicago be too great? While the talent of their side cannot be questioned, the champions mentality may lie with New Zealand and that is what could see them prevail on Irish soil.
1. Jack McGrath 2. Rory Best (capt.) 3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Donnacha Ryan 5. Devin Toner
6. CJ Stander 7. Sean O’Brien 8. Jamie Heaslip
9. Conor Murray
10. Johnny Sexton
12. Robbie Henshaw
13. Jared Payne
11. Simon Zebo 14. Andrew Trimble
15. Rob Kearney
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, I Henderson, Josh van der Flier, Kieran Marmion, Paddy Jackson, Garry Ringrose.
New Zealand XV:
1. Joe Moody 2. Dane Coles 3. Owen Franks
4. Brodie Retallick 5. Sam Whitelock
6. Liam Squire 7. Sam Cane 8. Kieran Read (capt.)
9. Aaron Smith
10. Beauden Barrett
12. Anton Lienert-Brown
13. Malakai Fekitoa
11. Julian Savea 14. Israel Dagg
15. Ben Smith
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden, Waisake Nahol.