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Ireland punts on experience for All Blacks

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/11/2016 Angelo Risso

Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on March 19, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on March 19, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. Leinster fullback Rob Kearney will pull on the green of Ireland for the first time since February's Six Nations in Saturday's Test against the All Blacks.

Kearney, 30, missed his side's June series against South Africa but has been reinstated to coach Joe Schmidt's run-on XV, with Kiwi-born Jared Payne moving to centre to face the All Blacks for the first time.

Schmidt has picked a relatively experienced outfit for the clash against the world champions, with CJ Stander and Jordi Murphy named at either side of the scrum.

Vice-captain Jamie Heaslip completes the loose forward trio at No.8, while Donnacha Ryan and the towering Devin Toner line up at lock.

Ireland have named just two uncapped players in the matchday 23, with Kiwi-born playmaker Joey Carbery and centre Garry Ringrose on the bench.

"We have tried to go with a little bit of experience just because of the magnitude of the game and quality of the opposition," Schmidt said.

"Once those younger guys do get on, I think that will give us an opportunity to assess them a little bit against a very high standard of opposition.

"It's a bit of a baptism of fire."

Opposing coach Steve Hansen sprung a few surprises with his matchday squad on Thursday, naming veteran blindside at Jerome Kaino at lock and recalling halfback Aaron Smith.

But it was the combination of rampaging wingers Julian Savea and Waisake Naholo from the first minute that Schmidt feared most.

"Naholo, he often doesn't have to offload because he just beats tackles and finishes it off himself, his ability to go from zero to top speed is exceptional," Schmidt said.

"Then you look across and you've got Julian Savea, and The Bus is back, isn't he?"

Ireland have never defeated their Kiwi foes in a Test, losing 27 and drawing one of their 28 contests since 1905.

They came close in 2013, going down 24-22 to a last-gasp Aaron Cruden sideline conversion in Dublin.

Loosehead prop Jack McGrath said the 2013 match, in which he played the last 11 minutes, was but a distant memory.

"It's a new year, a new challenge, playing against the best team in the world," the 27-year-old said.

"It's going to be a hugely physical battle, that's going to be won and lost in that scrum time."

IRELAND: Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble, Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray, Jamie Heaslip, Jordi Murphy, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Donnacha Ryan, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best, Jack McGrath. Reserves: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Josh van der Flier, Kieran Marmion, Joey Carbery, Garry Ringrose.

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