Van der Flier replaces injured Leavy for All Blacks Test

Josh van der Flier (Getty Images)
Josh van der Flier (Getty Images)

Dublin - Josh van der Flier will start for Ireland in their Test match with world champions New Zealand on Saturday after fellow flanker Dan Leavy dropped out, an IRFU spokesperson said on Friday.

Van der Flier played in the 54-7 win over Italy a fortnight ago but did not feature in last Saturday's 28-7 victory against Argentina.

The 25-year-old, whose Dutch grandparents emigrated to Ireland in the 1950s, has played well for Leinster this season after returning from a cruciate ligament injury he suffered in Ireland's Six Nations win over France in February.

His Leinster team-mate Leavy, who was one of the new faces to star in Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam exploits last season, impressed against Argentina last weekend but failed to train on Thursday, with a spokesperson saying he had general muscle tightness.

Jordi Murphy fills van der Flier's place on the bench.

"From our point of view it doesn't affect us that much, we are replacing one quality player with another," said captain Rory Best.

"I think Josh and Dan are rather similar players. Josh will bring his game and fit in seamlessly," Best added.

Teams

Ireland

15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Cian Healy

Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour

New Zealand

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu'inukuafe

Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Richie Mo'unga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

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