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After a 42-19 victory in the opening Steinlager Series Test at Eden Park last weekend, the All Blacks have a chance to sew up the series at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night.

Match details:
All Blacks v Ireland, Saturday 9 July, 7.05pm NZT, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Played: 34
Won: All Blacks 30, Ireland 3, Drawn 1
Last time: All Blacks 42, Ireland 19 (2 July 2022)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

The All Blacks need to score 21 points to achieve 1000 points scored against Ireland in what would be the 35th Test match between the sides. The All Blacks have previously broken the 1000-point barrier against five other nations (South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Wales and France). Out of the 979 points the All Blacks have scored so far against Ireland, Dan Carter has scored the most of any individual with 87 points. In terms of tries, Doug Howlett and Frank Bunce are tied on five tries each against Ireland. In response, Ireland have racked up 437 points against the All Blacks with Johnny Sexton leading the way with 65 points.

The biggest area for concern for the All Blacks comes in the second row where Sam Whitelock (concussion) and Tupou Vaa’i (covid-19) have been ruled out of the Dunedin Test. With young lock Josh Lord also sidelined for the season with an ACL rupture, the second row has been reshuffled for the second Test. After impressing last week at blindside flanker, Scott Barrett moves back to lock to partner 93-Test All Black Brodie Retallick. On the bench, 41-Test All Black Patrick Tuipulotu makes an earlier than anticipated return to the national side in the number 19 jersey.

Last week saw two new All Blacks take the field in the form of Leicester Fainga’anuku and Pita Gus Sowakula. This week could provide two more new All Blacks with Aidan Ross and Folau Fakatava set to make their debuts from the bench. The setting is particularly familiar for halfback Fakatava who has made a specialty of making an impact late in the game under the roof for the Highlanders.

Ireland have made just one change to the side that went down at Eden Park with exciting wing Mack Hansen returning from Covid-19 to replace Keith Earls on the right wing. Coach Andy Farrell said he had shown faith in his side to bounce back from the loss at Eden Park. “To not give people a chance to correct that is sometimes missing an opportunity, so there’s a little bit of that. Some people are unlucky probably not to start because they had good impact off the bench.”

The All Blacks only need to look back to the last time Ireland were in New Zealand for a glimpse of how hard the second Test can be. Ten years ago, under similar circumstances of trying to keep a series alive, it took a late Dan Carter dropped goal at Christchurch Stadium to hold Ireland out 22-19. First five-eighths Beauden Barrett said it had been a ding-dong battle on a freezing night and although that wasn’t in prospect under the roof in Dunedin, the one thing they could be assured of was that Ireland would respond. “As expected, we needed to really put our bodies on the line and show that physical intent against the Irish because, learning from our last Test match in Ireland against them, they showed us an intent that we needed to match or be better.”

TEAMS (caps in brackets, * denotes debut):
All Blacks:
1. George Bower (12) 2. Codie Taylor (67) 3. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (45) 4. Brodie Retallick (93) 5. Scott Barrett (49) 6. Dalton Papalii (13) 7. Sam Cane (78) – Captain 8. Ardie Savea (60) 9. Aaron Smith (103) 10. Beauden Barrett (102) 11. Leicester Fainga’anuku (1) 12. Quinn Tupaea (8) 13. Rieko Ioane (48) 14. Sevu Reece (18) 15. Jordie Barrett (37)
RESERVES: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (10) 17. Aidan Ross* (0) 18. Angus Ta’avao (21) 19. Patrick Tuipulotu (41) 20. Pita Gus Sowakula (1) 21. Folau Fakatava* (0) 22. Richie Mo’unga (33) 23. Will Jordan (13)

1. Andrew Porter 2. Dan Sheehan 3. Tadhg Furlong 4. Tadhg Beirne 5. James Ryan 6. Peter O’Mahony 7. Josh van der Flier 8. Caelan Doris 9. Jamison Gibson Park 10. Johnny Sexton (c) 11. James Lowe 12. Robbie Henshaw 13. Garry Ringrose 14. Mack Hansen 15. Hugo Keenan
RESERVES: 16. Rob Herring 17. Cian Healy 18. Finlay Bealham 19. Kieran Treadwell 20. Jack Conan 21. Conor Murray 22. Joey Carbery 23. Bundee Aki

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