|Rugby World Cup quarter-final: Ireland v New Zealand|
|Venue: Tokyo Stadium Date: Saturday, 19 October Kick-off: 11:15 BST|
|Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and online with text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.|
Experienced duo Rob Kearney and Peter O’Mahony have been restored to the Ireland team for Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand.
Garry Ringrose will partner Rob Henshaw in the centre for the first time in 16 months as head coach Joe Schmidt makes three changes from the win over Samoa.
Champions New Zealand have trusted Jack Goodhue and Anton Leinert-Brown to solve their midfield conundrum.
Brodie Retallick is named at lock despite little game time in Japan.
Beauden Barrett will once again operate at full-back with Richie Mo’unga at fly-half while Cody Taylor is preferred to Dane Coles at hooker.
Experienced duo Ryan Crotty and Ben Smith are not included in Steve Hansen’s matchday 23 with Sonny Bill Williams only among the replacements.
Goodhue and scrum-half Aaron Smith are the only starting backs who played in their defeat by Ireland in Dublin last year, which is also the last time they failed to score a try.
Twelve players who began Ireland’s victory last November keep their place with Henshaw, Murray and Iain Henderson replacing Bundee Aki, Kieran Marmion and Devin Toner.
Injuries not a problem
Unlike four years ago, head coach Joe Schmidt has not had to deal with a huge number of fitness concerns in the build-up to the quarter-final.
Of his 31-man squad, only Aki was unavailable for selection following his red card last weekend, while Ulster hooker Rob Herring trained on Thursday having been flown in to replace the injured Sean Cronin.
Despite offering a compelling case for selection with a stand-out display at full-back against Samoa, Jordan Larmour is on the bench with Schmidt favouring the experience of 94-time capped Kearney.
Lions forward O’Mahony is also preferred in the back row at the expense of Tadhg Beirne.
“There are probably four or five, maybe half a dozen, reasonably tight selection decisions,” said Schmidt on Thursday.
“You can’t guarantee you’ve got any decision right until the game is completed.”
Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton will become Ireland’s most-capped starting half-back duo, overtaking Peter Stringer and Ronan O’Gara by lining up together for the 56th time.
New Zealand’s Pool B schedule was reduced to just three games after their final match against Italy was cancelled as a result of Typhoon Hagibis.
Despite being denied the chance to finish the pool with four wins from four, the All Blacks still finished top courtesy of three victories and two bonus-points in their opening matches.
Goodhue missed the opening win against the Springboks with a hamstring injury, but impressed sufficiently against Canada and Namibia to retain his place in the starting XV.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
Leinert-Brown remains at inside-centre having operated at 13 against South Africa, as head coach Steve Hansen continues with his dual-playmaking threat of Barrett and Mo’unga.
Retallick, capped 78 times, was restricted to just 30 minutes of action, against Namibia, in the group stages as he returned from a dislocated shoulder but will renew his vastly experienced partnership with Sam Whitelock in the second row.
The reigning champions are undefeated in their last 17 World Cup fixtures, last tasting defeat against France in the 2007 quarter-finals.
Ireland: Kearney; Earls, Ringrose, Henshaw, Stockdale; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Furlong, Henderson, James Ryan, O’Mahony; Van der Flier, Stander.
Replacements: Scannell, Kilcoyne, Porter, Beirne, Ruddock, McGrath, Carbery, Larmour.
New Zealand: B Barrett; Reece, Goodhue, Lienert-Brown, Bridge; Mo’unga, Smith; Moody, Taylor, Laulala, Retallick, Whitelock; Savea, Cane, Reid.
Replacements: Coles, Tuungafasi, Ta’avao, S Barrett, Todd, Perenara, Williams, J Barrett.
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe