Breaking: Mack Hansen named in Ireland team for New Zealand quarter-final
Mack Hansen starts for Ireland against New Zealand.
Prolific winger Mack Hansen has been passed fit to start for Ireland against New Zealand in the World Cup quarter-finals this Saturday.
Hansen was a fitness doubt after coming off early against Scotland last weekend but takes his place on the right-wing for the biggest game of his career.
His fellow winger James Lowe is, as expected, also ready to start despite taking a blow to his eye against Gregor Townsend’s team.
Andy Farrell says the game came too early for Keith Earls and Robbie Henshaw who would be fit if there's a game next week. James Ryan would also be available next week after getting a procedure on his wrist
The next week bit was heavily caveated by that 'if'
— Rúaidhrí O'Connor (@RuaidhriOC) October 11, 2023
Hansen picked for Ireland against New Zealand
In other notable team news, it appears neither Keith Earls or Robbie Henshaw are fit enough to take a place on the bench, with Leinster’s Jimmy O’Brien taking the number 23 shirt.
Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey held the jersey last weekend but the Ireland staff have opted for a player more comfortable at playing in the back-three this time around – perhaps as a precaution over Hansen’s fitness.
Also absent is second row James Ryan who has a wrist problem. He’s replaced by Leinster teammate Joe McCarthy in the matchday squad.
Ireland chose to move their team announcement forward to today which means New Zealand can analyse the selection before revealing their lineup later in the week.
Given the lack of surprises in Ireland’s selection that should make little difference to the outcome, but it still shows Farrell’s confidence in his players and his gameplan.
Should Ireland overcome the All Blacks they will reach a first ever Rugby World Cup semi-final after years of trying and failing.
Ireland have beaten Scotland 36-14 in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup 🇮🇪🏉
Ireland will play New Zealand in the quarter-finals ⏳pic.twitter.com/BcU4ykZwNj
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) October 7, 2023
Something feels different this time around but it would be foolish to underestimate the threat that New Zealand will present at Stade de France come Saturday at 8pm (Irish Time).
The Joe Schmidt-assisted Kiwis lost 27-13 against France on the opening night of the tournament but have since registered 71-13, 96-17 and 73-0 scorelines against Namibia, Italy and Uruguay respectively.
Ireland: Porter, Sheehan, Furlong; Beirne, Henderson; O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris; Gibson-Park, Sexton; Lowe, Aki, Ringrose, Hansen, Keenan
Replacements: Kelleher, Kilcoyne, Bealham, McCarthy, Conan; Murray, Crowley, O’Brien
Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)