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Joe Schmidt backs tried and trusted to make history against the All Blacks

Prepared: Ireland captain Rory Best
Prepared: Ireland captain Rory Best
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

In what could be his last team selection as Ireland head coach, there were no surprises as Joe Schmidt named his panel to take on the All Blacks in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final in Tokyo (11.15am UK-time).

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No matter what happens, one highly successful head coach will be leaving his post come the end of the weekend, with both Schmidt and New Zealand's Steve Hansen set to walk away after their team's run in Japan draws to a close.

And as he looks to make yet more Irish Rugby history, Schmidt has gone with a tried and trusted formula to chase his side's first ever knock-out win at this tournament.

"There's four or five, maybe half a dozen, really tight decisions," said Schmidt.

"You weigh up the previous performances against the opposition and the combinations but you can't guarantee you've any decision right until the game is completed."

Despite a man of the match performance last time out against Samoa, there is no room in the starting side for Jordan Larmour with Rob Kearney preferred at full-back and Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale on the the wings.

With Bundee Aki suspended, Garry Ringrose comes straight back alongside Robbie Henshaw, while it is the usual half-back pairing of Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton.

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Rhys Ruddock, man of the match himself when he last played against Russia, has not dislodged any of the back-row trio that began the World Cup - Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander - while, at this stage, the tight five picks itself.

In what could be the last game of his own storied career, Rory Best leads the side from hooker, packing down with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong either side of him with Iain Henderson and James Ryan again in the engine room.

IRELAND TEAM TO FACE NEW ZEALAND: R Kearney; K Earls, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, J Stockdale; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best (c), T Furlong; I Henderson, J Ryan; P O'Mahony, J van der Flier, CJ Stander.

REPLACEMENTS: R Scannell, D Kilcoyne, A Porter, T Beirne, R Ruddock, L McGrath, J Carbery, J Larmour.

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