There was a late scare in Carton House this morning when Dan Leavy didn’t take part in Ireland’s final training session, but he was deemed fit enough to take his place in the starting team to play the All Blacks on Saturday.
Leavy is one of four changes from the side who beat Argentina last weekend and there are welcome returns from injury for Rob Kearney (shoulder) and Garry Ringrose (hip).
In the one change that was not enforced, Joe Schmidt has recalled Devin Toner to the engine room in place of Iain Henderson, who drops to the bench.
Kieran Marmion continues to deputise for Conor Murray and again links up with with Johnny Sexton at half-back.
The rest of the back line has a familiar look to it with Bundee Aki partnering Ringrose in midfield, with Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls keeping their place on the wings.
Up front, Rory Best retains his starting place and forms a formidable front-row with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong.
Toner is alongside James Ryan in the second-row as they lock horns with Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock in one of several mouthwatering match-ups.
Munster pair Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander are again included in the back-row, where they are joined by Leavy.
Josh van der Flier is recalled on the bench, while Luke McGrath gets the nod ahead of John Cooney and Jordan Larmour does the same ahead of Will Addison.
Ireland – R Kearney; K Earls, G Ringrose, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Sexton, K Marmion; C Healy, R Best (capt), T Furlong; D Toner, J Ryan; P O’Mahony, D Leavy, CJ Stander. Reps: S Cronin, J McGrath, A Porter, I Henderson, J van der Flier, L McGrath, J Carbery, J Larmour.
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