Kearney earns Ireland return against All Blacks

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Rob Kearney will claim his 70th Ireland cap on Saturday after being named in Joe Schmidt's starting XV for their Test with New Zealand in Chicago.

Full-back Kearney missed Ireland's tour to South Africa earlier this year due to a hamstring injury, but returns to the side for the opening match of the international series.

With Keith Earls suspended, Ireland's backline has a familiar look with the likes of Simon Zebo, Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray all starting.

In the pack Donnacha Ryan won the race for a place in the second row alongside Devin Toner, the Munster lock seeing off competition from Billy Holland and Ultan Dillane.

Further forward prop Tadhg Furlong wins his ninth cap in a front row that also includes Jack McGrath and captain Rory Best.

And Leinster duo Gary Ringrose and Joey Carbery could make their debuts after being named on the bench for the clash at Soldier Field.

Schmidt's side will be the latest to try and halt the all-conquering All Blacks, Steve Hansen's side having won a record 18 in a row ahead of their northern hemisphere tour. 

 

Ireland team: Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble, Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Jack McGrath, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Donnacha Ryan, Devin Toner, CJ Stander, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Josh van der Flier, Kieran Marmion, Joey Carbery, Garry Ringrose.