Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has made three changes for Saturday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final showdown with New Zealand in Tokyo.

Despite Jordan Larmour's superb performance in the win over Samoa, Schmidt has opted for the experience of 94-cap Rob Kearney at full-back as Ireland aim to reach the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time.

Larmour is one of three backs on the bench, alongside Joey Carbery and Luke McGrath.

Robbie Henshaw will partner returning Leinster team-mate Garry Ringrose at centre in the absence of the suspended Bundee Aki, whose tournament is over, the IRFU has accepted. Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale are on the wings.

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Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray will start their 56th international together at half back, a record.

The only change in the pack is the return of former Lions captain Peter O'Mahony (64 caps) in place of his Munster team-mate Tadhg Beirne (12), who is among the replacements.

The front row remains Cian Healy, Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong, James Ryan will partner Iain Henderson in the engine room, and O'Mahony and CJ Stander are outside Josh van der Flier on the flanks.

Twelve of the team that beat New Zealand in Dublin last November are included overall, Aki, Kieran Marmion and Devin Toner having started that day.

Jordan Larmour

Schmidt admitted that it had been a tight call to select Rob Kearney ahead of Jordan Larmour.

"Yeah, there were probably half a dozen reasonably tight selection decisions," said the head coach. "And you weigh up the experiences, previous performances against other opposition.

"You can't guarantee you've got any decision right until the game is completed.

"Chris Farrell has been very good for us, really come on and made an influential impact against Scotland. Andrew Conway has been very good too, and so the outside backs have been a bit of a conundrum.

"We've tried to add up as best we can the combinations we think that will best serve us in this fixture.

"I think the unfortunate thing about selecting a 23 to play the All Blacks is that they can play very well and still not get the result. That's the quality the All Blacks have.

"But these players, they've had some very successful experiences together and contributed to a fair bit of history for us.

"You can't go out against the All Blacks and accept that you're second fiddle. You've got to go out and put your best foot forward."

Peter O'Mahony of Ireland is tackled by Owen Franks in 2018

Schmidt also said O'Mahony, who was man of the match last November, was a "big moments player".

"He brings a leadership and experience, and he's a very effective lineout operator for us," said Schmidt.

"Part of it is the structure, the way that he ends up across the width of the pitch. He tends to be playing in the wider channels, and therefore he's not as involved as some of the other players who are closer in.

"I think stats always tell part of the story but they don't tell the complete picture. And for us, there are things he can add for us that we think will be really important.

"He saved our bacon the last time we played the All Blacks with an exceptional turn and chase and the long arms that he reached out just to pluck the ball in front of Ben Smith, who really would have scored for certain if Pete hadn't got back and saved that.

"I think he won two balls on the ground in that game for us as well, and that's important.

"So he has been a bit of a big moments player for us; maybe not as many moments but the big moments, they count."

Brodie Rettalick will face Ireland

New Zealand have named just eight of the same XV from that last meeting in Dublin. 

Lock Brodie Retallick has returned for the All Blacks in arguably their strongest side.

There are two changes to the pack that opened their campaign against South Africa with a 23-13 victory in Yokohama.

Nepo Laulala comes in for Dan Coles and Retallick replaces Scott Barrett.

Retallick played 30 minutes in Tokyo against Namibia after two months out with a dislocated shoulder before being substituted to manage his playing time. However, he was unable to get more minutes into his legs ahead of the quarter-finals when their final pool match against Scotland was scrapped.

Captain Kieran Read, who was rested for the Namibia game, returns at number eight to lead the side in his 125th test, while the dual playmaker axis of Beauden Barrett at fullback and Richie Mo'unga at flyhalf has been reinstated.

Barrett's younger brother Jordie made his first test start at out-half against Namibia and scored 21 points but has dropped to the bench.

Ireland: Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Gary Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong; Iain Henderson, James Ryan; Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour.

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett; Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, George Bridge; Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody; Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick; Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Kieran Read (capt).

Replacements: Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi, Angus Ta'avao, Scott Barrett, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Sonny Bill Williams, Jordie Barrett.

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Follow Ireland v New Zealand on Saturday 19 October (kick-off 11.15am) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the News Now App, watch live on RTÉ2 or listen to live match commentary on RTÉ Radio 1. 


Follow all four Rugby World Cup quarter-finals this weekend via our live blogs on and the News Now app, or watch live on RTÉ2.