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Kevin McLaughlin is set to make his first start for Ireland in two years against the All Blacks on Saturday

Kevin McLaughlin is set to make his first start for Ireland in two years against the All Blacks on Saturday

Kevin McLaughlin is set to make his first start for Ireland in two years against the All Blacks on Saturday

Kevin McLaughlin has declared that Ireland will be up to speed against a dangerous New Zealand side in the second Test at Christchurch.

The Leinster flanker will make his first international start in two years on Saturday night. The 27-year-old, who was called up to the touring squad after the late withdrawal of Ulster's Stephen Ferris, says the loss to New Zealand in the first Test was a wake-up call.

He said: "The Kiwis just ran from everywhere, especially when we kicked loosely a couple of times, they were pretty unstoppable in their counter-attack. We just need to be a lot tighter defensively and up to the pace of the game."

He added: "We know the level we have to be at now to compete. Training this week has been really sharp. There has been no heads down or anything. We are in a really good position to go out and have a good go at them."

The Dubliner's season was stunted somewhat by an ankle injury but he returned for the final few months as Leinster pushed for the league and European cup double.

He was outstanding in the Heineken Cup final against Ulster and his hard work at the breakdown freed Sean O'Brien for punishing forays up-field.

"I was happy with how the Heineken Cup final went," said McLaughlin. "Seanie played unbelievably and I felt that I did my job.

"It is brilliant having some familiar faces in the back row. It means that I can just go out there and play my own game."

PA