The All Blacks are in town and Ireland stand on the verge of making history.

Johnny Sexton says there's no point in pretending that it's not a special fixture.

Andy Farrell, the defence coach, reckons the atmosphere is building as you would expect when the world's number one side are in town.

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New Zealand coach Steven Hansen claims it's a battle for the title of the best team in the world, given that Ireland are ranked number two. 

Somehow Keith Earls didn't get the memo.

"Yeah, I don’t get too excited about who we play against anymore," says the Ireland winger.

"Most games get me excited.

"I don’t like building certain games up. Every rugby game, I try to prepare myself and show respect to any team we play against. 

"Just because it’s the All Blacks, I’m not going to change much."

It's not that the 31-year-old isn't taking his job seriously, or that he's not paying due respect, it's that he can see that there are games of rugby, and there are important things in life.

"I'm going to see my kids later on, they'll get me away from it," he says with the thought bringing a smile to his face.

"I certainly don't like thinking about the game, I like looking at the game and training when I'm within my training hours but outside that, I'm not even thinking about Saturday.

"I'm in training now and we finish up and we get to go home and I enjoy going home to be a father and a husband as well. That's an exciting part of my week as well."

The Munster man is in line for his 72nd cap should he line out on Saturday.

He has actually missed out on the last few games against the All Blacks, including the win and defeat in 2016, but says that it is a topic of conversation among the group.

"It always pops up," he says of the 40-29 win in Chicago.

"You go back and look at the videos of how you broke them down and how they broke us down.

"We've been looking at that and we looked at the game that was played in the Aviva.

"Look, that was two years ago and a lot of the lads who played in that game aren't playing here now and it's up to this group to try and get a result against them at home.

"It's something we've never done, beat New Zealand at home. That would be a nice on to tick off but it's a massive challenge.

"They’re incredibly dangerous. 

"They’re one of those teams where if you blink for one second, you’ll be behind your own post a couple of times."

Should Rob Kearney, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, not make the squad, then Sexton will be the only surviving back from the starting team that played against the All Blacks in 2016.

Andrew Trimble, Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo and Conor Murray all miss out for various reasons.

New Zealand-born centre Bundee Aki is likely to retain his place and having made 25 appearance for the Chiefs knows a thing or two about Saturday's opponents.

"He’s a hardy boy, isn’t he," says Earls of the 28-year-old.

"He never gives up. I think he’s communication on the field is phenomenal.

"He’s just non-stop talking on field and he just makes the game easier for the lads he’s playing with."

Follow Ireland v New Zealand via our liveblog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the News Now app, watch live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player or listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 this Saturday (kick-off 7pm)