Ireland v New Zealand, Aviva Stadium, November 20
Ireland change 11 for All Blacks
ESPNscrum Staff
November 18, 2010
Ireland's Rob Kearney launches an attack, Ireland v Italy, Six Nations Championship, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland, Febraury 6, 2010
Rob Kearney returns for Ireland © Getty Images

Ireland coach Declan Kidney has made 11 changes to his side for the visit of New Zealand to Lansdowne Road on Saturday, with Leinster fullback Rob Kearney returning from injury and Eoin Reddan joining Jonny Sexton at halfback.

Kearney's return means a move back to the wing for Luke Fitzgerald while Tommy Bowe completes the back-three.

Gordon D'Arcy is back at inside-centre to partner skipper Brian O'Driscoll and Sexton and Reddan are recalled ahead of experienced Munster duo Ronan O'Gara and Peter Stringer, who started last weekend's laboured 20-10 win over Samoa.

In the pack, Cian Healy starts at loose-head and Tom Court shifts across the scrum to the No.3 jersey. Mick O'Driscoll and Donncha O'Callaghan form an all-Munster second-row while Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris returns in a first-choice back-row also comprising openside David Wallace and No.8 Jamie Heaslip.

All Blacks head coach Graham Henry has decided to reunite his usual midfield combination of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith. Sonny Bill Williams, Man-of-the-Match in last weekend's 49-3 thrashing of Scotland at Murrayfield, will make an impact from the bench for the first time in his short Test career.

Smith and Nonu sat out the England and Scotland victories respectively to accommodate Williams' impressive introduction to international rugby. Nonu's promotion from the bench is one of five changes to a starting line-up that effortlessly stretched their unbeaten record against Scotland to 28 matches since the rivalry began in 1905. In other backline alterations Cory Jane returns from injuries sustained against Australia to replace Isaia Toeava on the right wing.

Scrum-half Andy Ellis starts his first Test since Italy in Milan on last year's northern hemisphere tour, replacing Jimmy Cowan, who will spend a second Test watching from the stands, after also being omitted from the 22-man squad that beat England 26-16.

In the pack, Jerome Kaino predictably returns to the blindside flank for Liam Messam, who covers the loose trio from the bench. Lock Tom Donnelly is in the match-day squad for the first time since Hong Kong, taking the place of Sam Whitelock. Brad Thorn has been ruled out with a hamstring problem, meaning that Anthony Boric starts in the engine room.

Hika Elliot, who debuted against Scotland, has been retained as the starting hooker in what could be his last involvement, given the suspended Keven Mealamu will be available for the finale against Wales in Cardiff next weekend. The match is also significant for captain Richie McCaw and fullback Mils Muliaina - they both eclipse Sean Fitzpatrick's record of 92 Test appearances.

Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster); J Sexton (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), T Court (Ulster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), S Ferris (Ulster), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster)

Replacements: S Cronin (Connacht), J Hayes (Munster), D Toner (Leinster), D Leamy (Munster), P Stringer (Munster), R O'Gara (Munster), K Earls (Munster)

New Zealand: M Muliaina (Waikato); C Jane (Wellington), C Smith (Wellington), M Nonu (Wellington), H Gear (Wellington); D Carter (Canterbury), A Ellis (Canterbury); T Woodcock (North Harbour), H Elliot (Hawke's Bay), O Franks (Canterbury), A Boric (North Harbour), T Donnelly (Otago), J Kaino (Auckland), R McCaw (Canterbury, capt), K Read (Canterbury).

Replacements: A Hore (Taranaki), J Afoa (Auckland), S Whitelock (Canterbury), L Messam (Waikato), A Mathewson (Wellington), S Donald (Waikato), SB Williams (Canterbury)

Referee: Marius Jonker (RSA)
Assistant Referees: Craig Joubert (RSA), Carlo Damasco (Ita)
TMO: Hugh Watkins (Wal)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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