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NZ to provide ultimate challenge: Schmidt

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/11/2016 Angelo Risso

Ireland broke a 111-year drought by beating the All Blacks in Chicago, but coach Joe Schmidt says this weekend's rematch will be his side's ultimate challenge.

The All Blacks go into Saturday's match in Dublin still smarting from their 40-29 loss, having failed to get a handle on Ireland's set-piece and kicking game.

That result ended the world champions' record 18-Test winning streak, and the Kiwi-born Schmidt expected to see a response from his adversaries at the Aviva Stadium.

They would certainly not gift his side another first-half head start, having gone into the sheds 25-8 behind on US soil.

"When you win 18 in a row and get in that habit, you're not happy to lose that," Schmidt told reporters on Thursday.

"I know they were quite outspoken about being driven to continue that, and that hasn't happened for them, so they'll want to get straight back on track."

Schmidt has picked a mostly similar line-up to that which beat New Zealand two weeks ago after resting most of his first-team regulars last week against Canada.

The only change to the starting XV is the addition of powerhouse Sean O'Brien at openside flanker after recovering from a long-term hamstring issue.

He'll replace the crocked Jordi Murphy, while Josh van der Flier remains on the bench.

Ulster first-five Paddy Jackson also replaces Kiwi-born Joey Carbery as star playmaker Johnny Sexton's understudy.

Leinster's O'Brien was rated by several of his All Blacks opponents as one of the best in his position this week, and Schmidt agreed.

"We thought it was probably better that Sean start than come off the bench, he needs to feel his way into the game a little bit," Schmidt said.

Schmidt said he was expecting a similar style of match to that seen in Chicago, with two sides looking to get on the front foot and score points.

But, like All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, he demanded his troops stick to the process of playing decent rugby and let the results follow.

"Unfortunately when you play a team like the All Blacks, that might still not be enough," Schmidt said.

"We've got huge respect for them and how could you not?

"The last two World Cups they've won, some of the margins they've put on incredibly good teams."

IRELAND: Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble, Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray, Jamie Heaslip, Sean O'Brien, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Donnacha Ryan, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best (c), Jack McGrath. RESERVES: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Iain Henderson, Josh van der Flier, Kieran Marmion, Paddy Jackson, Garry Ringrose.

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