What is it?
New Zealand face Ireland in the second quarter-final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand topped Pool B beating South Africa, Canada and Namibia before their final game was cancelled against Italy. Ireland came second in Pool A. They beat Scotland, Russia and Samoa but lost to hosts Japan.
When is the match?
Today – Saturday October 19.
What time is kick-off?
11.15am BST in Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo.
What TV channel is it on?
This one is on ITV, NBC, TSN and more.
What is the latest squad news?
The All Blacks are expected to be at full-strength to face Ireland. Steve Hansen is likely to continue with Richie Mo’unga starting at fly-half with Beauden Barrett continuing at fullback.
New Zealand face a selection dilemma in the centres with Ryan Crotty, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue and Sonny Bill Williams all impressing in the World Cup so far.
Ireland are expected to have a fully fit squad to select from. Jonny Sexton and Joey Carbery both seem to have overcome niggling injuries. Robbie Henshaw played for over an hour against Samoa while Rob Kearney and Rhys Ruddock will be back in contention to play.
However a cloud hangs over the Ireland squad due to the red card handed out to Bundee Aki in the Samoa game. Aki is expected to be banned for a number of matches at a hearing on Monday but Ireland have decided to fly in a specialist lawyer to Japan to help with Aki’s case.
What are they saying?
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen was pleased to avoid playing Japan:
“People have said, ‘Who do you want to play?'”
“Well, they’re the in-form team, I’m quite happy they’re on the other side of the draw.
“The best part is we know who we’re playing. They’re [Ireland] a quality side, they’ve been No. 1 this year.
“The last three results are ‘loss, win, loss’ so there won’t be any complacency in our camp. It’s pretty exciting; we’re right where we want to be.”
Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong on how to beat the All Blacks:
“You can’t switch off, at all. So it’s just working really hard and staying switched on mentally because they can make something out of nothing with some of the players they have.
“I suppose there’s an element of just being physical.
“It’s the same any rugby game you play but as a front five forward, it’s all about being as physical as you can and hopefully coming out on top.”
What is the head-to-head record of both sides?
New Zealand and Ireland have played each other on 31 occasions with the All Blacks winning 28 of them. Ireland have one two games with one draw back in 1973.
However recent history is more favourable to Ireland. Their only two victories over New Zealand have come in the last three matches against them giving Ireland a superior record since 2016.
What are the betting odds?
- New Zealand to win: 2/11
- Ireland to win: 15/4
- Draw: 28/1
What is our prediction?
The All Blacks have looked the best side at the Rugby World Cup and are expected to beat Ireland. The Irish side were excellent against Scotland but were undone by Japan. Despite getting the better of New Zealand in recent times, the All Blacks will make less mistakes than Ireland and be clinical in taking their chances. New Zealand to win.
Prediction: New Zealand 26 Ireland 15