Rugby-Healy fit as Ireland plump for experience against All Blacks


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Autumn Internationals - Ireland v Fiji - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland - November 18, 2017 Ireland's Cian Healy reacts after scoring a try which was disallowed REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

(Reuters) - Ireland prop Cian Healy has recovered sufficiently from a leg injury sustained against the Maori All Blacks this week to be named among the replacements for the first test against New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.

The 116-cap loosehead was carried of the pitch by a motorised stretcher during the 32-17 defeat on Wednesday in Hamilton but will back up Andrew Porter from the bench at the weekend.

Coach Andy Farrell fielded an experimental team against the Maori but has gone firmly for experience in the side he hopes will grab Ireland's first victory over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil.

Johnny Sexton will win his 106th cap and captain the side from flyhalf with Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw making up a well-established centre partnership outside him.

Keith Earls will win his 97th cap on the right wing in the absence of Mack Hansen, who is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, while Peter O'Mahony returns as a starter on the blindside flank.

New Zealand-born James Lowe will be on the other wing with Jamison Gibson Park starting at scrumhalf in the city where he was born and played for two years with the Auckland Blues.

James Ryan will take on the imposing All Blacks engine room in the second row alongside Tadhg Beirne after Iain Henderson was injured in training earlier this week.

Team: 15-Hugo Keenan, 14-Keith Earls, 13-Garry Ringrose, 12-Robbie Henshaw, 11-James Lowe, 10-Johnny Sexton (captain), 9-Jamison Gibson Park, 8-Caelan Doris, 7-Josh van der Flier, 6-Peter O'Mahony, 5-James Ryan, 4-Tadhg Beirne, 3-Tadhg Furlong, 2-Dan Sheehan, 1-Andrew Porter

Replacements: 16-Dave Heffernan, 17-Finlay Bealham, 18-Cian Healy, 19-Kieran Treadwell, 20-Jack Conan, 21-Conor Murray, 22-Joey Carbery, 23-Bundee Aki

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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