Match details: All Blacks v Ireland, Saturday 13 November 3.15pm GMT, (Sunday 4.15am NZT), Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Won: All Blacks 29, Ireland 2, Drawn 1
Last time: All Blacks 46, Ireland 14 (19 October 2019)
Referee: Luke Pearce
A HISTORIC MILESTONE IN SIGHT
Against Italy last week the All Blacks broke the world record for most tries and most points scored in a calendar year. The 47-9 victory in Rome took the All Blacks to 675 points in 2021, ahead of South Africa’s previous record of 658 from 2007. On the try scoring front, the All Blacks scored seven tries to go to 96 tries for the year, leap frogging Argentina who scored 92 tries in 2003. With two Tests remaining in 2021, the All Blacks require four tries to become the first team in history to score 100 tries in a Test season.
When describing a team’s home ground in rugby the word ‘fortress’ has become a cliché. For Ireland and Aviva Stadium that word rings true though. Aviva Stadium (formerly Lansdowne Road) has long been one of the hardest places to win away from home at in the Six Nations and the All Blacks have found out why in recent times. In 2013, it took a comeback for the ages for the All Blacks to prevent Ireland from securing their first victory over the team in black (watch the story of that victory below). Then in 2016, the All Blacks had to scrap hard for a 21-9 victory just one week after Ireland had defeated the All Blacks for the first time in Chicago. The last time they met in Dublin in 2018, Ireland walked away victors 16-9. If recent history is anything to go by, we are set for another classic on the weekend.
BARRETT vs SEXTON
Two absolute masters of their craft will do battle once more in Dublin. There are many parallels to the careers of Jonathan Sexton and Beauden Barrett. They are both former World Player of The Year winners (Sexton in 2018 and Barrett in 2016 and 2017), both have recently passed 100 Tests for the nation, and both will undoubtedly go down among the greatest playmakers ever produced by their country. Beauden Barrett paid tribute to Sexton during the week: "I admire his play, his longevity and how influential he is. He has great skillsets. Probably one of the strengths of his game is his ability to get second touches and always be a threat. There's a lot to admire about him and the way he plays,” Barrett said.
Former Hurricanes and Blues halfback Jamison Gibson-Park, former Chiefs and Tasman wing James Lowe and former Chiefs midfielder Bundee Aki have all been named in Ireland’s backline to face the All Blacks. Gibson-Park and Lowe are also both former Māori All Blacks who debuted for Ireland in 2020, while Aki first pulled on the green jersey back in 2017 and represented the British and Irish Lions this year. James Lowe said he has fond memories of growing up and playing with many current All Blacks. "Some of my best friends are starters in that All Black team. I went to school with two or three. I played with a few of them when they were younger, and I said these kids are going to have a big future, and now they have cemented themselves in the 15,” Lowe said.
TEAMS (caps in brackets)
1. Andrew Porter (38) 2. Ronan Kelleher (14) 3. Tadhg Furlong (50) 4. Iain Henderson (64) 5. James Ryan (38) 6. Caelan Doris (10) 7. Josh van der Flier (33) 8. Jack Conan (21) 9. Jamison Gibson Park (11) 10. Johnny Sexton - captain (100) 11. James Lowe (7) 12. Bundee Aki (32) 13. Garry Ringrose (35) 14. Andrew Conway (26) 15. Hugo Keenan (14)
Reserves: 16. Rob Herring (22) 17. Cian Healy (110) 18. Finlay Bealham (17) 19. Tadhg Beirne (23) 20. Peter O’Mahony (77) 21. Conor Murray (90) 22. Joey Carbery (25) 23. Keith Earls (94)
1. Joe Moody (55) 2. Codie Taylor (65) 3. Nepo Laulala (38) 4. Brodie Retallick (90) 5. Samuel Whitelock – captain (130) 6. Ethan Blackadder (8) 7. Dalton Papalii (11) 8. Ardie Savea (57) 9. TJ Perenara (77) 10. Beauden Barrett (100) 11. Sevu Reece (16) 12. Anton Lienert-Brown (55) 13. Rieko Ioane (45) 14. Will Jordan (11) 15. Jordie Barrett (34)
Reserves: 16. Dane Coles (78) 17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (24) 18. Tyrel Lomax (13) 19. Tupou Vaa’i (10) 20. Akira Ioane (11) 21. Finlay Christie (5) 22. Richie Mo’unga (30) 23. David Havili (13)