Ireland's Conor Murray and Robbie Henshaw ruled out for New Zealand

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen 'convinced' Conor Murray will return to Ireland XV ahead of Test with All Blacks

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen 'convinced' Conor Murray will return to Ireland XV ahead of Test with All Blacks

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said on his team's arrival into Dublin that he expected Murray to play this weekend, despite his long absence.

Ireland's chances of beating the All Black's took a fresh hammer blow with news that Robbie Henshaw will take no further part in Ireland's November Tests.

"Conor Murray is accelerating through his recovery but will not join the squad during the Guinness Series window", the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) confirmed in a statement.

Johnny Sexton believes Murray made a "smart" decision in ruling himself out of the Test against the All Blacks. It's a big ask. But if you're out for the period of time he has been out for, it would be a big step in.

Kieran Marmion and Luke McGrath should act as Ireland's scrum-halves again in Murray's absence, while Henshaw's hamstring injury will have boss Schmidt hoping to pair Bundee Aki and the fit-again Garry Ringrose in midfield.

Sexton, who admits they have to get on the right side of match day referee Wayne Barnes with whom he says they have had problems in the past, says the Irish have to execute their plan on how to beat the All Blacks to perfection.

Brexit deal is waiting to be done, says Barnier
She added: "Overwhelmingly, the British people want us to get on with delivering Brexit, and I am determined to deliver for them". With the DUP and hardline Brexiteers prepared to vote down any deal, the parliamentary arithmetic is looking increasingly hard .

Ireland will also be without Robbie Henshaw for the New Zealand and US encounters, after the centre sustained a hamstring strain.

Sexton said his loss would be felt. They lost [Sean] O'Brien yesterday, and a fella comes on and plays just as good.

"Look, I'm sure he'll bounce back quickly from it but he's obviously a loss".

"When you think about the last three times we've played them, we've had brilliant game plans and the times we've executed them really, really well we've done well".

"You don't get a chance, you know, they've been number one team in the world for nine years, you've got a small chance to change that".

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