Joe Schmidt names Ireland team to face All Blacks in Chicago

Captain Rory Best throws the ball during Ireland training in Chicago

Captain Rory Best throws the ball during Ireland training in Chicago

Rob Kearney has been named to start at full-back for Ireland’s meeting with New Zealand on Saturday.

The experienced Leinsterman will win his 70th Ireland cap in Chicago as Joe Schmidt reverts to his tried and trusted backline, with Jared Payne partnering Robbie Henshaw in midfield.

Kearney missed the summer tour of South Africa with injury and Payne and Tiernan O'Halloran filled in well in his absence but he has been an automatic selection when fit for Schmidt. who has shown faith again.

Garry Ringrose and Joey Carbery could make their debuts off the bench at Soldier Field after being named as cover, with Kieran Marmion edging out Luke McGrath for the No 21 shirt.

Tadhg Furlong starts just his second Test at tighthead prop alongside Rory Best and Jack McGrath, while Donnacha Ryan gets the nod ahead of Ultan Dillane in the second row.

Schmidt has retained the back three that started the first and third Tests in South Africa, with Jordi Murphy holding off Josh van der Flier to play at openside alongside CJ Stander and Jamie Heaslip.

Here's the Ireland team to play @AllBlacks in Soldier Field #TeamOfUs #ShoulderToShoulder

— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) November 3, 2016

Ireland kick-off against New Zealand at 8pm Irish time on Saturday, with Eir Sport showing the game.

Ireland team to face New Zealand: R Kearney; A Trimble, J Payne, R Henshaw, S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best, T Furlong; D Toner, D Ryan; CJ Stander, J Murphy, J Heaslip.

Replacements: S Cronin, C Healy, F Bealham, U Dillane, J vd Flier, K Marmion, J Carbery, G Ringrose.

Meanwhile, New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has named the following team:

All Blacks team to face Ireland: Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, George Moala, Ryan Crotty, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Patrick Tuipulotu is, Jerome Kaino, Liam Squire, Sam Cane, Kieran Read.

Replacements: Codie Taylor, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Charlie Fauimuina, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden, Malakai Fekitoa.

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Joe Schmidt to stay on as Ireland coach until after 2019 World Cup

Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt has committed his future as Ireland head coach until the end of the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) made the announcement today, 12 days before Ireland's autumn series opener against New Zealand in Chicago.

New Zealander Schmidt took charge of Ireland in November 2013, since when he has masterminded back-to-back Six Nations titles, plus away victories over South Africa and Argentina.

In a statement released by the IRFU, 51-year-old Schmidt thanked the organisation for showing "patience and confidence."

Schmidt said: "I would like to thank the IRFU for their patience and confidence, as the decision to continue took somewhat longer than I'd anticipated.

"It is difficult at times being so far away from extended family, but we appreciate how lucky we are to have the support we have here in Ireland.

"The strength of the rugby community has been incredibly visible over the past week, and the enthusiasm of management and players to improve and compete is complemented by a really positive camaraderie.

"The wider community has made us welcome, and as a family we have benefited immensely from their support.

"Looking forward, there are positive signs with the U20s, finalists at the Junior World Championships this year, the provinces topping three of the five European Champions Cup pools, as well as Ulster and Leinster sharing the lead of the PRO12 at present.

"With the Guinness series about to begin, facing a dominant New Zealand team, along with Canada and Australia, is going to be a tremendous challenge."

Under Schmidt, Ireland won the Six Nations in 2014 and 2015, claimed a Test series triumph in Argentina and latterly toppled the Springboks.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora added: "Joe is one of the leading coaches in world rugby, and it is fantastic for Irish rugby that he has committed until the end of the World Cup cycle.

"We have a talented group of coaches, and Joe has been central to attracting coaching talent and driving success with the national team."

And IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said: "The IRFU is delighted to confirm that Joe will continue through to the next World Cup.

"Since coming to Ireland he has made a huge contribution to Irish rugby at provincial and national level, and also actively supports our clubs across the four provinces."

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