Ireland have given Mack Hansen the starting role for the second Test


Mack Hansen will return to the Ireland team in what will likely be the only change to the starting XV for Saturday’s second Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin.

The Connacht winger missed last week’s defeat due to Covid but after recovering and returning to training, Hansen is expected to replace Keith Earls, who has started both games on the tour so far.

Hansen will bring new momentum to the back three as Farrell brings confidence to the other 14 players who started the 42-19 loss.

That means Hugo Keenan and James Lowe will join Hansen in the back three, while Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose will resume their center partnership.

Johnny Sexton passed his HIA protocols on Tuesday and as such the Ireland captain was always expected to retain his place alongside Jamison Gibson-Park.

Up front, Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, and Tadhg Furlong get a chance to fix their scrum issues. James Ryan and Tadhg Beirne will start again on the second row, with the back row also remaining unchanged.

There will be a forced move on the bench as Dave Heffernan is out with concussion, but with Rob Herring fit again the Ulster hooker was in line for a recall.

Cian Healy will again provide loosehead covers. Finlay Bealham is being brought forward to Tom O’Toole following his recovery from Covid, with Kieran Treadwell and Jack Conan having to make do with a place among the substitutes. Conor Murray, Joey Carbery and Bundee Aki will be the backline options.

The All Blacks are without Sam Whitelock after influential suspension with a concussion.

Probably Ireland team (vs New Zealand) – H Keenan; Hansen M, Ringrose G, Henshaw R, Lowe J; J Sexton (Captain), J Gibson Park; A Carrier, D Sheehan, T Furlong; T Beirne, J Ryan; P O’Mahony, J van der Flier, C Doris. Representatives: Herring R, Healy C, Bealham F, Treadwell K, Conan J, Murray C, Carbery J, Aki B. Ireland have given Mack Hansen the starting role for the second Test

Fry Electronics Team

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