The Rugby World Cup quarter-finals continue when Ireland and New Zealand clash on Saturday at 8pm (UK time).
With a semi-final place at stake, both the Shamrock and the All Blacks will be going all out to pick up the victory.
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Ireland vs New Zealand preview
There are all kinds of form lines that can tie-in to this match-up, many of them in favour of Ireland.
New Zealand were the last team to defeat Ireland, which is perhaps a feather in the cap of the All-Blacks, but it was 19 tests ago. Ireland have been unstoppable since then, including against New Zealand in the subsequent two test matches in that series in New Zealand in 2022. It was the first series win by Ireland in New Zealand, which shows how ground-breaking this Irish team is.
The All Blacks haven’t actually beaten Ireland outside of New Zealand since 2013. To be fair, the matches have either been in New Zealand or Ireland, there is no recent form on neutral ground that is relevant for this contest.
Ireland may be battling against history, which is a concern, but their recent form must make them favourites for this match. They have already beaten South Africa in the pool stage, who are ranked higher than New Zealand, and they have comfortably put away Scotland, no easy feat.
The Kiwis seem to have taken defeat against France quite personally. They have really piled the points onto the other teams in the group, 71 against Namibia may have been what was expected, but 96 against Italy, and 73 against Uruguay were exceptional attacking performances and reminded us all that the All Blacks are still the most devastating attacking side in World Rugby with ball in hand.
The Irish defence is the meanest and most ferocious in World Rugby as well though and so often in the knockout matches in the World Cup it is more about the best defences.
Ireland: Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris, Jamison Gibson-Park, Johnny Sexton, James Lowe, Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose, Mack Hansen, Hugo Keenan
Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Joe McCarthy, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, Jimmy O’Brien
New Zealand: TBC
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