The Ireland and New Zealand teams were announced earlier this evening for Saturday’s jolly in Chicago, the game at Soldier’s field kicking off at 20:00 UK/IRE. Live on BTSports 2. 

Ulster’s Rory Best, Jared Payne and Andrew Trimble all start but unfortunately there is no room for Craig Gilroy. I’m also disappointed that Kieran Marmion, Joey Carberry and Garry Ringrose don’t start either though we are likely to see them get some match time with this game likely to be over early in the second half.  🙁 

I was a big fan of Joe Schmidt when he first took over the Ireland coaching role but Ireland have been playing fairly poor rugby of late, if we discount a (very) small revival during the summer tour against an out of sorts South Africa.

As with Ulster, the team have generally looked over coached and overtrained, playing some very formulaic rugby and with his lack of experimentation for this game I expect this to be something similar, it’s just a question of when, not if, New Zealand run away with it. 

The FRU Predicts: Hopefully there will be enough huff and puff from the Irish forwards to keep it competitive for the first hour at least but I suspect we’ll be seeing 18 straight wins for the All Blacks after this one. 

IRELAND   NEW ZEALAND
Rob Kearney 15 Ben Smith
Andrew Trimble 14 Waisake Naholo
Jared Payne 13 George Moala
Robbie Henshaw 12 Ryan Crotty
Simon Zebo 11 Julian Savea
Johnny Sexton 10 Beauden Barrett
Conor Murray 9 Aaron Smith
Jack McGrath 1 Joe Moody
Rory Best 2 Dane Coles
Tadhg Furlong 3 Owen Franks
Donnacha Ryan 4 Patrick Tuipulotu
Devin Toner 5 Jerome Kaino
CJ Stander 6 Liam Squire
Jordi Murphy 7 Sam Cane
Jamie Heaslip 8 Kieran Read
     
Sean Cronin 16 Codie Taylor
Cian Healy 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi
Finlay Bealham 18 Charlie Faumuina
Ultan Dillane 19 Scott Barrett
Josh van der Flier 20 Ardie Savea
Kieran Marmion 21 TJ Perenara
Joey Carbery 22 Aaron Cruden
Garry Ringrose 23 Malakai Fekitoa

#SUFTUM