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Thursday Jul 14, 2022

Foster Rings The Changes For Crunch Third Test

Wellington will be the scene for perhaps the biggest clash between the two nations in their long-storied rivalry.

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Andy Farrell has made only one change to his side due with the impressive Bundee Aki coming in for Garry Ringrose.

Ringrose was not cleared to play following his head collision last week with All Black prop Angus Ta’avao.

Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton once again starts and will earn his 108th cap, equalling the legendary Paul O’Connell’s total.

Keith Earls who led the midweek team to an impressive victory over the Maori All Blacks takes Aki’s spot on the bench.

Joining Earls as backline cover will be Munster teammates Conor Murray and Joey Carbery.

Under pressure All Black coach Ian Foster has made a number of changes to his side following their loss last weekend.

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Nepo Lualala comes in to start in the front row in place of Ofa Tu’ungafasi who drops down the bench.

Most significantly Sam Whitelock returns to the second row to partner Brodie Retallick for the 61st time.

Whitelock’s return is significant for the functioning of the All Blacks set piece, an area they really struggled in last weekend.

Scott Barrett now shifts back into the number six shirt having played in the second row in Whitelock’s absence.

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Barrett’s positional shift see’s Dalton Papalii drop down to the bench, for his part Papalii will be looking to get into the action following a tough second test where he conceded a number of penalties.

In the backline, David Havili comes in at inside centre in place of Quinn Tupaea who drops out of the twenty-three completely.

Will Jordan joins Jordie Barrett and Sevu Reece to form a lethal looking back three. Jordan’s elevation comes at the expense of Leicester Fainga’anuku who many feel was fortunate to avoid a red card for his wreckless challenge on Mack Hansen.

In perhaps the most exciting addition to the twenty-three, Rugby League legend Roger Tuivasa-Sheck looks set to make his All-Black’s debut from the bench.

Both sides will approach this fixture knowing that history is on the line. Should Ireland complete a series win in New Zealand it will be one their greatest achievements rivalling the Six Nations grand slams.

New Zealand will know that they have been up against it in recent times against Ireland.

Having already suffered a first ever defeat on home soil with many of the current players being part of the first All Black side to lose to Ireland full stop.

They will be doing everything in their power to avoid creating another piece of history.

Throw into the mix how contentious the first two tests have been both on and off the field and it has all of the makings to be one of sport’s great days.

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Scott Barrett, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Keith Earls

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