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Mack Hansen returns to the Irish team for the second Test against the All Blacks

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Mack Hansen has returned to the Ireland team with the only change to the starting XI for Saturday’s second Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin.

The Connacht winger missed last week’s defeat at Eden Park due to Covid, but after recovering and returning to training earlier this week, Hansen replaces Keith Earls, who has started both games on tour so far.

Hansen will bring new momentum to the back three as Farrell shows confidence in 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.

At the top, Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan and Tadhg Furlong get a chance to fix their scrum issues after enduring big struggles last weekend.

James Ryan and Tadhg Beirne are back on the second row, with the back row unchanged, while Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris keep their places.

The bench see a forced change as Dave Heffernan was ruled out with a 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 will be preferred to Tom O’Toole after recovering from Covid, while Kieran Treadwell and Jack Conan will have to settle for a spot on the substitutes. Conor Murray, Joey Carbery and Bundee Aki will be the backline options.

Ireland to play New Zealand on Saturday – 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.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/international-rugby/mack-hansen-returns-to-ireland-team-for-second-test-against-the-all-blacks-41820469.html Mack Hansen returns to the Irish team for the second Test against the All Blacks

Fry Electronics Team

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