Ireland boss Schmidt to let Murray decide on surprise return

Dan Leavy is Sean O'Brien's likely replacement on the open side of the Irish scrum

Sexton, who will be without scrumhalf Conor Murray with whom he has formed one of the most feared halfback partnerships in Test match rugby, says the best way to do that is to take the attack to their opponents.

The scrum-half last played in June on Ireland's tour of Australia and has been managing a neck injury since.

"Look, he's a world-class player and three guys behind him are chasing him but I think they did well at the weekend, "Marms" and Luke".

"He's gutted, I'm gutted for him".

"As physical as it was tonight - it was a step up the last time they were in town so the challenge for our guys is to step up and I'm confident they can and at the same time I'm well aware of what challenges the All Blacks present", he added.

"I can't tell you what it is because I've got lots on my plate right now", he said.


"Everyone seems to find another 10 percent when they play us because it is a good story if you can beat the All Blacks and everyone gets excited by that". Will Addison stepped in to make his first start and didn't let Ireland down, but Ireland will want to restore Ringrose with Bundee Aki.

"So we'll have a great plan, we'll have some experiences of what's worked against them in the past, what hasn't worked, and where they are the most unsafe".

Sexton, who admitted the Irish were a bit rusty in their 28-17 victory over Argentina on Saturday, says the greatest danger lies in the All Blacks ability to seize on one slip and change the complexion of the game.

"We have quality players there, and they all know how to play the game we want to play".

That triumph ended an 18-match winning streak for the All Blacks, who wasted little time gaining revenge when the Kieran Read-led side won a rematch 21-9 two weeks later in Dublin.

The rivalry between the sides has intensified in recent years with Schmidt's side no longer considered plucky underdogs as he has helped shape them into a northern hemisphere powerhouse in the last half a decade. "From our point of view we've been penalised a lot by him in the past, more so than any other ref so we really need to be wary of our own discipline this week". We felt it would be a twofold risk, one would he do more damage and two, it's always hard if you have to replace someone five minutes into a Test match. We've come on the wrong side of Wayne Barnes in the past so it's something we're going to have to look at even more so this week.

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