Conor Power, Yokohama
All Blacks' boss Steve Hansen believes doubts over Conor Murray's fitness may be an "Irish trick" ahead of their clash with Joe Schmidt's side in the Aviva Stadium on November 17.
Murray was not named in the Ireland squad last week as he continues to recover from a neck injury which has kept the Limerick man sidelined since the start of the season.
But Hansen, speaking after their 37-20 win over Australia in Yokohama on Saturday, joked that the announcement may be the start of the mind games before the match in Dublin.
“Well, I’m not sure about that blow,” said Hansen, “if Conor’s really going to be out or if it’s an Irish trick, to tell you the truth.”
But he added: “Conor’s a great player and it’s really disappointing for the All Blacks and Ireland that he’s not playing.
All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett scored 17 points as New Zealand completed a Bledisloe Cup clean sweep with a 37-20 win over Australia at the venue for the 2019 World Cup final on Saturday