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Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Thursday, 18 November 2010

Ireland select Jonathan Sexton to face New Zealand

Autumn internationals: Ireland v New Zealand
Venue: Aviva Stadium Date: Saturday, 20 November Kick-off: 1730 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio Ulster MW & BBC Sport Website

Jonathan Sexton
Sexton did not feature in Ireland's victory over Samoa

Ireland have selected Jonathan Sexton at fly-half for Saturday's Test against New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium.

The Leinster player has been preferred to his more experienced Munster counterpart Ronan O'Gara, who is named among the replacements.

Coach Declan Kidney's starting line-up shows 11 changes from the team which beat Samoa but just one change from that which lost to South Africa.

Tom Court is retained at prop as Tony Buckley remains out with a hip injury.

Cian Healy has recovered from a dead leg sustained in the latter stages of the 20-10 victory over Samoa and takes his place in the starting XV.

Rob Kearney has overcome the injury he picked up against the Springboks and comes into the side at full-back with Luke Fitzgerald moving to the left wing.

Reddan is preferred to Peter Stringer at scrum-half despite a fine display by the Munster man against Samoa.

Gordon D'Arcy resumes his provincial partnership alongside captain Brian O'Driscoll, with Eoin Reddan also recalled to the starting XV.

Court switches to tight head after playing at loose head against Samoa.

O'Gara made a significant contribution when coming on as a replacement against South Africa and also scored 15 of Ireland's 20 points against Samoa, but Sexton has received the nod from Kidney.

McCaw wary of Irish threat

Donnacha Ryan was unavailable for selection after being handed a three-week suspension for a stamping offence during the game against Samoa.

Kidney explained the reasoning behind his selection after giving the players who lost to South Africa an opportunity to make amends.

"We know our error count against South Africa and that's what we've been trying to rectify," said the Irish coach.

"It's why we've gone with this team - the players deserve another go.

"Sometimes you must back players and that's what we're doing."

All Blacks lock Brad Thorn has not been named in the New Zealand side after failing to recover from a hamstring strain.

Thorn suffered the strain to his right hamstring on Tuesday and has been replaced by Anthony Boric.

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw and full-back Mils Muliaina will compete in their 93rd Tests, becoming the most-capped All Black players of all time, after equalling former captain Sean Fitzpatrick's record last weekend against Scotland.

In total, the New Zealand side shows six changes from that which demolished Scotland last weekend.

Ireland: R Kearney, T Bowe, B O'Driscoll (capt), G D'Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, R Best, T Court; D O'Callaghan, M O'Driscoll; S Ferris, D Wallace, J Heaslip.

Replacements: S Cronin, J Hayes, D Toner, D Leamy, P Stringer, R O'Gara, K Earls.

New Zealand: M Muliaina; C Jane, C Smith, M Nonu, H Gear; D Carter, A Ellis; T Woodcock, H Elliott, O Franks; A Boric, T Donnelly; J Kaino, R McCaw (capt), K Read.

Replacements: A Hore, J Afoa, S Whitelock, L Messam, A Mathewson, S Donald, S B Williams.

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see also
Ireland v New Zealand
19 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Ferris says Ireland can beat NZ
17 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Ryan three-week ban for stamping
16 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Kidney relieved after Ireland win
13 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 20-10 Samoa
13 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 3-49 New Zealand
13 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union

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