Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw believes facing New Zealand will be ideal preparation for the 2023 World Cup scheduled to be played in France.
Andy Farrell's men are grouped along with defending champions South Africa, Scotland along with Qualifiers from Asia/Pacific and Europe in Pool B which Gregor Townsend believes is the 'toughest' for the competition.
Ireland are scheduled to visit New Zealand for a three-Test series in summer of 2022 - their first tour in the country since 2012 and Henshaw reckons facing the All Blacks will aid in their preparation to the showpiece event.
“That’s the best preparation you could have prior to a World Cup. You want to test yourself against the best in the world – the top teams in the world.
“Definitely, my experience of going down to New Zealand, it’s a different kettle of fish as well. It will be great.That’s definitely going to be massive for everyone who can be involved in that.
“There’s a massive amount of games to play over the next number of seasons so it’s great to have it on the horizon and keep building towards it".
Henshaw has played 42 Tests for Ireland since his debut in 2013 and recently was part of the Autumn Nations Cup campaign in which his side finished third.