Schmidt makes four changes to Ireland team for New Zealand showdown

Schmidt makes four changes to Ireland team for New Zealand showdown

Joe Schmidt has made four changes to his Ireland side for the clash against New Zealand.

13 of those who will start in Saturday's showdown also started when Ireland claimed the Grand Slam against England last March.

Rob Kearney is deemed to fit to start and replaces Jordan Larmour at fullback while in the centre, Garry Ringrose replaces Will Addison.

The other two changes come in the forwards with Devin Toner replacing Iain Henderson and Dan Leavy in for the injured Sean O'Brien.

In the backs, Kieran Marmion has been given the nod to start at scrum-half with a sensational Conor Murray return from injury having been ruled out earlier this week.

The Connacht man will partner Johnny Sexton who starts at out-half while Bundee Aki will join Ringrose in the centre.

Kearney is joined in the back three by Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale in the wings.

Captain Rory Best packs down in the front row with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong while Leinster's James Ryan starts in the second-row with club mate Toner.

In the back-row, Leavy is joined by Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander.

Leinster trio Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath and Andrew Porter provide front-row cover on the bench alongside Henderson and Josh van der Flier.

Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery and Larmour are also included in the substitutes.

Ireland play New Zealand on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium with kick-off at 7pm.

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