Ireland team to face All Blacks in World Cup quarter-final

Rob Kearney sporting a black eye in Ireland's match against Russia Rob Kearney will start at full-back for Ireland (Adam Davy/PA)

Rob Kearney has fended off the challenge of Jordan Larmour to start Ireland's World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand on Saturday.

Evergreen full-back Kearney missed Ireland's 47-5 win over Samoa having failed to train fully in the week leading up to that seven-try win in Fukuoka.

Leinster speed king Larmour impressed against the Samoans as Ireland sealed the bonus-point win required to book their place in the last eight.

But now head coach Joe Schmidt has restored 94-cap Kearney to what amounts to Ireland's strongest starting XV, barring the suspended Bundee Aki.

Garry Ringrose returns at outside centre with Robbie Henshaw stepping inside to number 12 to offset the absence of Aki, who was sent off against Samoa.

Peter O'Mahony slots in ahead of Tadhg Beirne at blindside flanker, with Rory Best captaining the side in an unchanged tight five.

Ireland boss Schmidt admitted it was a tight call to select Kearney ahead of Larmour.

"Yeah, there were probably half a dozen reasonably tight selection decisions," said Schmidt. "And you weigh up the experiences, previous performances against other opposition.

"You can't guarantee you've got any decision right until the game is completed.

"Chris Farrell has been very good for us, really come on and made an influential impact against Scotland. Andrew Conway has been very good too, and so the outside backs have been a bit of a conundrum.

"We've tried to add up as best we can the combinations we think that will best serve us in this fixture.

"You can't go out against the All Blacks and accept that you're second fiddle. You've got to go out and put your best foot forward."

Ireland team to play New Zealand

Forwards: 1 Cian Healy, 2 Rory Best (Captain), 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Iain Henderson, 5 James Ryan, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 CJ Stander

Backs: 9 Conor Murray, 10 Johnny Sexton, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 13 Garry Ringrose, 14 Keith Earls, 15 Rob Kearney

Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour

More Ireland Autumn Internationals Rugby News >