Richie Mo'unga starts at fly-half for New Zealand against Ireland

Richie Mo'unga will play his 15th Test for New Zealand
Richie Mo'unga will play his 15th Test for New Zealand
©Steve Haag

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has named Richie Mo'unga at fly-half for the World Cup quarter-final game against Ireland to be played in Tokyo on Saturday.

Mo'unga has played 14 Tests since his debut last year and has been a preferred choice at number 10 this year with Beauden Barrett slotting at fullback. Hansen has also retained the centre combination of Jack Goodhue and Anton Lienert-Brown while George Bridge and Sevu Reece are at wings.

The All Blacks boss has also made other changes in the starting line-up from their 71-9 win over Namibia with Ardie Savea shifting from number eight to blindside in the place of Shannon Frizell and Kieran Read returning to lead the side.

 

Brodie Retallick, who returned from injury during the game against Namibia will continue to be part of the line-up while Ben Smith drops out of the matchday squad with Beauden's brothers Jordie Barrett and Scott Barrett also among the reserve list.

"There's a lot of energy and excitement in the team which is normal for this stage of the tournament where the winner takes all," said Hansen.

"It will add extra pressure to both sides.

"We feel we've selected a great mixture of talent in our 23 who are in great form, and the squad includes many players who have a lot of Rugby World Cup knockout match experience."

New Zealand starting XV: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert Brown, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 1 Joe Moody, 2 Codie Taylor, 3 Nepo Laulala, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Sam Whitelock, 6 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane, 8 Kieran Read (c)

Reserves: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Jordie Barrett

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