Ireland named unchanged fifteen for All Blacks' quarter-final

5:25 am on 12 October 2023
Ireland winger Mack Hansen

Ireland winger Mack Hansen Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Ireland have named an unchanged starting fifteen for Sunday morning's World Cup quarter-final against the All Blacks in Paris.

Wing Mack Hansen has won his race to be fit after hurting his calf in last week's win over Scotland but has recovered in time to start against the All Blacks, while reserve lock James Ryan is ruled out.

There are two changes on the bench with lock Joe McCarthy and Jimmy O'Brien called in.

Hansen's calf issue meant he missed some training this week, so his availability is a major boost for the world's number one side ahead of the knockout match.

Asked about Hansen's selection, coach Andy Farrell said the Ireland medical team "is very confident that he's going to be fine".

"He's obviously had a few things to do at the beginning of the week but he's coming good," added the Ireland coach.

Versatile Leinster back O'Brien is the only Ireland player yet to feature at this World Cup and Farrell said that his ability to play in several positions led to him being preferred to Ulster's Stuart McCloskey, who came on as a replacement in last weekend's win over Scotland.

Ryan has been ruled out having failed to recover from his wrist injury, meaning Iain Henderson continues in the second row alongside Tadhg Beirne, with McCloskey the other player to drop out of the matchday 23.

Wing James Lowe starts after recovering from the eye injury he sustained against Scotland.

With Ryan ruled out, Ulster captain Henderson starts a World Cup quarter-final for the third time.

Ireland winger James Lowe scores a try for Ireland against Scotland at the Rugby World Cup.

Ireland winger James Lowe scores a try for Ireland against Scotland at the Rugby World Cup. Photo: Photosport

Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan and Tadhg Furlong remain in the front row, while Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris remain in the back row.

Hugo Keenan is retained at full-back, Garry Ringrose and Bundee Aki continue at centres while captain Johnny Sexton is again joined at half-back by Jamison Gibson-Park.

Farrell expects Ryan and other injured squad members Robbie Henshaw and Keith Earls, who have have hamstring injuries, to be in contention for the World Cup semi-final against either Wales or Argentina - if Ireland reach the last four.

Ireland, who have won their last 17 Tests, are attempting to reach the semi-finals for the first time having been knocked out at this stage in seven previous tournaments, including to the All Blacks in 2019.

While the Irish aim to avenge that painful defeat in Tokyo four years ago, New Zealand hope to banish the memories of last year's Test series defeat by Farrell's side on home soil.

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster will name his team tomorrow.

Ireland team v New Zealand

Ireland: Keenan; Hansen, Ringrose, Aki, Lowe; Sexton (capt), Gibson-Park; Porter, Sheehan, Furlong; Beirne, Henderson; O'Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Kelleher, Kilcoyne, Bealham, McCarthy, Conan, Murray, Crowley, O'Brien.

This story first appeared on the BBC