February 26, 2024
As one of the strongest Irish line operators, O’Mahony is crucial to taking on New Zealand’s formidable group
place: Eden Park, Auckland Date: Saturday 2 July Starting: 08:05 GMT
coverage: Live text commentary and match report on BBC Sport.

Peter O’Mahony will start on the blind version as Ireland looks to beat New Zealand’s All Blacks for the first time in Saturday’s opening Test.

Cian Healy overcame an injury he suffered in Wednesday’s defeat to the Maori All Blacks while on the bench.

Keith Earls is the only Maori player to have held his primary match spot in Eden Park, Auckland.

Meanwhile, Chiefs winger Leicester Finganoku will make his New Zealand debut after being selected on the left.

The All Blacks team without the trio of Will Jordan, Jack Godhu and David Haveley, who is infected with the Covid virus, as well as coach Ian Foster and a group of his assistants.

Ireland’s Mac Hansen is also unavailable after he tested positive for the virus earlier this week.

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New Zealand: J. Barrett, S. Reece, R. Ioane, Q. Tupaea, L. Fainga’anuku; B Barrett, Smith; Bauer, Taylor, Tongassi, Ritalik, Whitelock; S Barrett, Ken (captain), Savia.

Alternatives: Taukei’aho, Tu’inukuafe, Ta’avao, Sowakula, Papalii, Christie, Mo’unga, Ennor.

Ireland: Keenan. Earls, Ringrose; Henshaw, Lowe; Sexton (Capt), Gibson Park; Porter, Sheehan, Furlong, Byrne, Ryan; O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Alternatives: Heffernan, Pelham, Healy, Treadwell, Conan, Murray, Carberry, Aki.

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Monster winger Omhoni will win his 85th cup with Jack Konan forcing a spot among the alternatives while Callan Doris moves up to eighth.

O’Mahony’s strength in the squad is seen as key to Ireland’s chances of progressing against one of the world’s most formidable set-pieces.

Jonny Sexton leads the side of Half Fly as one of 12 players from Leinster to be named at the 15th start.

Centurion Healy needed a medical cart to get him off the field during the second half of the Maori defeat with coach Andy Farrell admitting to a brace injury. “Doesn’t look very good.”

He was clearly nowhere near as bad as he had feared having Healy on the team which allayed fears of a brace shortage.

Bundee Aki will wear the number 23 after leading Ireland for the first time against the Maori.

For the All Blacks, Beauden Barrett starts with a half fly while Brother Scott starts a blind wing cap for the first time since his 2019 World Cup semi-final defeat to England.

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