Ireland restore Devin Toner to side for All Blacks Test in Dublin

Johnny Sexton remonstrates with referee Marius van der Westhuizen in Australia during the summer

Johnny Sexton remonstrates with referee Marius van der Westhuizen in Australia during the summer

Rob Kearney will start at fullback for Ireland against the All Blacks in Dublin on Saturday.

Joe Schmidt expects Ireland's game against New Zealand on Saturday, a clash between the world's highest ranked teams, to be a "spiky" affair following the controversial previous meeting between the sides two years ago.

Connacht centre Bundee Aki has also shaken off a minor leg issue to make his first appearance against the country of his birth.

New Zealand might view former Waikato Chiefs centre Aki as one that got away, but Schmidt insisted the 28-year-old, who qualifies for Ireland on residency, has long since proved his Test loyalties. "I know Bundee Aki is very ready to play for us in this weekend's fixture".

Dan Leavy replaces Sean O'Brien at flanker, after the Leinster star broke his arm against the Pumas. Kieran Marmion has retained his spot at scrum-half with the Lions talisman Conor Murray still sidelined through neck trouble. Eleven members of this weekend's squad played in the historic 40-29 win over New Zealand in Chicago in November 2016, with Ringrose and Marmion unused replacements that day.

'We had a few guys who needed to get through a couple of training sessions, ' Schmidt said.

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"The whole year we've been looking at combinations to make sure next year is really clear in our own minds", he said. There were some decisions made by the referee that day... When we did name the team for today's training, I think everyone felt they were in with a chance. It's never ideal but even at the end of training we were still making some decisions for Saturday.

"Even then we got quite close to their line, Seanie (O'Brien) nearly went over, Rob Kearney was dragged down five metres short, so we weren't too far away".

R Kearney (Leinster, above) K Earls (Munster), G Ringrose (Leinster), B Aki (Connacht), J Stockdale (Ulster), J Sexton (Leinster), K Marmion (Connacht), C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster, capt), T Furlong, D Toner, J Ryan (all Leinster), P O'Mahony (Munster), D Leavy (Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster).

Subs: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour.

'He trained very well on Tuesday, but he's had a bit of soreness.

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