As expected Robbie Henshaw has moved to the inside-centre position with Garry Ringrose coming into the outside-centre role following Bundee Aki’s red card last weekend against Samoa.
Elsewhere Tadhg Beirne has dropped to the bench in place of fellow Munster teammate Peter O’Mahony, while Jordan Larmour joins Beirne among the replacements with Rob Kearney being given the nod at full-back.
That means that there is the familiar front-row of Cian Healy, captain Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong, with Iain Henderson and James Ryan teaming up once again in the second-row.
O’Mahony comes into the blindside flanker position, with Josh van der Flier on the openside and CJ Stander completes the pack from No 8.
Conor Murray links-up with Johnny Sexton in the half-backs as they become Ireland’s most capped half-back duo with 56 caps together, overtaking Ronan O’Gara and Peter Stringers’ previous record tally. While it’s Henshaw and Ringrose in the midfield as mentioned above.
Jacob Stockdale has been selected on the left-wing and will be hoping for a similar performance to the one he put in the last time the two teams met last November, where he scored a wonderful individual try. Keith Earls takes the right-wing position with Kearney at full-back.
There is plenty of power and skill to call upon from the bench with the likes of Rhys Ruddock and Joey Carbery among the replacements should Schmidt need them.
Speaking ahead of the game Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby has acknowledged the threat that the All Blacks possess and has knows his team will need to be at their best to stand any chance of progressing to the semi-finals.
“They have so many threats across the park. They are a team that ensure you can’t switch off for a minute. They have enough ball players to play certain styles but they also have the ability to play a set-piece game and muscle up. In our phase attack, we have to look after the ball and make sure we don’t give them any soft turnover opportunities. Without the ball, we need to be on the money and our set-piece has to stand up. It’s going to be a real challenge for us as a forward pack. Whether it was in Chicago or the last couple of times, the game is certainly set there in terms of tone. Both teams will be looking to do that and the rest of your game can thrive off the foundation you set up front,” he said.
Many have already written off Ireland’s chances against the reigning back to back World Cup champions, however, unlike in the last World Cup Ireland head into their last-eight clash with a fully-fit squad as well as having the motivation of making it to a first ever semi-final.
Ireland will hope that they can continue their tournament past this weekend but should they fail to progress this would be captain Best’s and manager Schmidt’s final game with the country as they are set to depart following the conclusion of Ireland’s campaign.
Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.
Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Gary Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray, CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier, Peter O’Mahony, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best (c), Cian Healy
Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath, Joey Carberry, Jordan Larmour
Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.
World Rugby has made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year. The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.Play Video
While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family.
The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.
The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions.
World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.
Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.
RWC 2023 Pools confirmed.
How the draw worked
As host nation, France was drawn first and placed randomly in one of the four pools. The teams were then drawn randomly from each band, starting with Band 5 (Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1, Final Qualifier Winner), then Band 4 (Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2), then Band 3 (Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy), then Band 2 (Ireland, (France), Australia, Japan) and finally Band 1 (South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales). The first drawn in each band was placed in Pool A, the second in Pool B, the third in Pool C and the fourth in Pool D.
Twelve of the 20 teams qualified automatically by finishing in the top three places of their Rugby World Cup 2019 pool. These 12 teams are: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Australia, Japan, Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy. Acknowledging the global COVID-19 impact on international rugby in 2020, these teams were seeded based on the World Rugby Men’s Rankings as of 1 January, 2020 and placed into the first three bands of four teams.
The remaining eight teams will come through the regional qualification process and were allocated for the draw into bands four and five based on relative strength. They are: Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2, Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1 and the Final Qualifier Winner.
Qualification process set for Rugby World Cup 2023
- Process designed to promote regional strength and the best teams to rugby’s showcase event
- 12 teams already qualified owing to top three pool placing at RWC 2019
- RWC 2023 on track to be a spectacular celebration of rugby and France
World Rugby has announced details of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
Following the most competitive and widely-acclaimed Rugby World Cup to date in Japan, the qualification process is designed to deliver the top teams in the world to rugby’s showcase tournament, while promoting a genuine opportunity for all unions.
With 12 teams having secured their place at France 2023 courtesy of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2019, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross-regional qualifiers. The process will conclude with a four-team round-robin Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022 to determine the final qualifier.
The dates for events in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an anticipated easing of the COVID-19 situation.
The announcement follows consultation with unions and regions in January 2020 and a full review of performance at Rugby World Cup 2019, where rankings upsets and the impressive performances in particular of Japan, Fiji, Uruguay, Tonga and Georgia cut the performance gap, with the average winning margin between established and emerging unions decreasing in comparison with 2015 benchmarks.
The Americas will deliver two direct places, while Oceania will deliver a direct qualifier with a further direct place available following a play-off with Asia. The Rugby Europe Championship (two direct places), Rugby Africa Cup (one direct place) and Final Qualification Tournament (one direct place) will provide the other qualifiers. Further details are provided below.
RWC 2023 qualification principles
- Americas: the Americas will qualify two teams by September 2022. The third best team in the region will enter the Final Qualification Tournament – Americas 1 & Americas 2
- Europe: the existing Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams in March 2022 qualifying directly and the third placed entering the Final Qualification Tournament – Europe 1 & Europe 2
- Africa: the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will qualify directly and the runner-up team will go to Final Qualification – Africa 1
- Oceania: a home and away play-off between Tonga and Samoa in 2021 will determine the direct qualifier for the Oceania region. – Oceania 1
The loser will then play the Oceania Rugby Cup 2021 winner in the highest ranked team’s country with the eventual winner contesting Asia / Pacific (see below) as Oceania 2
- Asia / Pacific: the winner of the Asian Rugby Men’s Championship 2021 will play Oceania 2 home and away. The winner on aggregate will determine the qualifier and the loser will go to Final Qualification – Asia / Pacific 1
- Final Qualification Tournament: the tournament in November 2022 will feature four teams playing in a round-robin format with the winner qualifying for RWC 2023 – Final Qualification winner
Teams already qualified: South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “With the global pandemic having halted most rugby activity, confirmation of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 provides a beacon of excitement for all, including players and fans.
“The process that has been developed via full consultation with our regional associations and member unions will provide a genuine opportunity for full member unions to qualify for our showcase men’s 15s event.
“Maximising existing regional competitions, the process is good for regions and unions in managing costs for organisers and participants alike, which is important as we all recover from the global pandemic.
“On behalf of World Rugby, I’d like to wish all teams involved the best of luck on their journey to France 2023.”
Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher added: “This qualification process gives emerging unions an opportunity to take part in our sport’s biggest competition.
“The success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and performances by the host nation is a testimony of rugby’s expansion globally. As the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is about to be won, I welcome this optimistic prospect of reconnecting with the excitement of our sport. This is the start of our journey towards France 2023, which will be the best tournament ever delivered.”
Final details of the regional competition formats and dates will be announced in due course.
Official Press Release from World Rugby