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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Ed Elliot

Mack Hansen to start Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand

PA Wire

Mack Hansen has been included in an unchanged Ireland starting XV for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand in Paris.

Connacht wing Hansen sat out training this week but has seemingly overcome the calf issue suffered in last weekend’s 36-14 victory over Scotland.

Lock James Ryan, who sustained a hand injury against the Scots following his introduction as a replacement, and centre Stuart McCloskey drop out of Andy Farrell’s matchday 23.

Second-row Joe McCarthy – the youngest member of Ireland’s 33-man squad at 22 – and versatile back Jimmy O’Brien, the only player yet to feature in France, have been added to the bench.

Wing James Lowe has been selected to face the country of his birth after overcoming the eye problem he sustained in Ireland’s final Pool B fixture.

Fellow native Kiwis Jamison Gibson-Park and Bundee Aki will also take on the All Blacks at Stade de France.

But centre Robbie Henshaw and wing Keith Earls, who have been troubled by hamstring issues, will once again be absent.

Ireland are seeking to secure a maiden World Cup semi-final by stretching their winning run to 18 Tests, which would equal the tier-one record shared by New Zealand and England.

Captain Johnny Sexton will once again partner scrum-half Gibson-Park, who shifted to the left wing following Lowe’s departure last weekend, while Aki continues alongside Garry Ringrose in midfield.

Hansen and Lowe are joined in a familiar backline by full-back Hugo Keenan.

Leinster trio Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan and Tadhg Furlong continue in the front row, ahead of locks Tadhg Beirne and Iain Henderson.

Flankers Peter O’Mahony and Josh Van Der Flier line up either side of number eight Caelan Doris.

Test rookies McCarthy and O’Brien are joined on the bench by hooker Ronan Kelleher, props Dave Kilcoyne and Finlay Bealham, back-rower Jack Conan, scrum-half Conor Murray and fly-half Jack Crowley.

Ireland team to face New Zealand

Ireland team: 15-Hugo Keenan, 14-Mack Hansen, 13-Garry Ringrose, 12-Bundee Aki, 11-James Lowe, 10-Johnny Sexton, 9- Jamison Gibson-Park, 8-Caelan Doris, 7-Josh van der Flier, 6-Peter O’Mahony, 5-Iain Henderson, 4-Tadhg Beirne, 3-Tadhg Furlong, 2-Dan Sheehan, 1-Andrew Porter

Replacements: 16-Ronan Kelleher, 17-David Kilcoyne, 18- Finlay Bealham, 19-Joe McCarthy, 20-Jack Conan, 21-Conor Murray, 22-Jack Crowley, 23-Jimmy O’Brien.

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