Ireland name Rob Kearney at fullback for quarter-final against New Zealand

Rob Kearney needs three more games to reach 100-Test milestone
Rob Kearney needs three more games to reach 100-Test milestone
©PA

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has named Rob Kearney at full-back for the World Cup quarter-final game against New Zealand scheduled in Tokyo on Saturday.

Kearney, who has played 97 Tests including three for the British and Irish Lions last played during the game against Russia and has overcome a challenge from Jordan Larmour, who drops to the bench.

Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale have retained their position at wings while a three-game ban for Bundee Aki for a red-card incident during the game against Samoa sees Garry Ringrose forming a centre partnership with Robbie Henshaw.

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton will become Ireland's most-capped starting half-back duo while there are no changes to the front-row and second-row. The back-row sees one change with Peter O'Mahony returning to blindside in the place of Tadhg Beirne.

"There were probably half a dozen reasonably tight selection decisions," said Schmidt.

"And you weigh up the experiences, previous performances against other opposition.

"You can't guarantee you've got any decision right until the game is completed.

"Chris Farrell has been very good for us, really come on and made an influential impact against Scotland. Andrew Conway has been very good too, and so the outside backs have been a bit of a conundrum.

"We've tried to add up as best we can the combinations we think that will best serve us in this fixture.

"You can't go out against the All Blacks and accept that you're second fiddle. You've got to go out and put your best foot forward."

Ireland line-up: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Cian Healy, 2 Rory Best (c), 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Iain Henderson, 5 James Ryan, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 CJ Stander.

Reserves: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour.

 

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