Ireland and New Zealand All Blacks Are Ready for Match in Chicago

October 31, 2016

Ireland and New Zealand All Blacks Are Ready for Match in Chicago


Photo: AIG “The Rugby Weekend” USA Rugby, Maori All Blacks, All Blacks, Ireland

The article is based on releases by USA Rugby, Irish Rugby Union and the New Zealand Rugby Union (All Blacks)

Doug Coil

The AIG presents Rugby Weekend kicks off on Friday, November 4 when the USA Rugby Men’s Eagles play the Maori All Blacks at Toyota Park at 7pm CT in Bridgeview, Illinois. On Saturday, November 5, Ireland will play the New Zealand All Blacks at Soldier Field in Chicago at 3pm CT. (8pm in Ireland and Sun 6 Nov, 9.00AM NZT)

Tickets for the Eagles v Maori All Blacks are available on TicketMaster. Tickets for the All Blacks v Ireland match may be also obtained through TicketMaster.


Joe Schmidt has named a 34 man squad for the November tests. This is an unusually large squad, however more than half the group are involved in Pro12 action this past weekend, as well as the travel and fatigue from the Chicago game. Ireland will then face Canada on Saturday November 12, New Zealand again on November 19,and then Australia, all at Aviva Stadium.The squad included six uncapped players. The side will be missed some familiar faces.

The travel squad to Chicago left today and will arrive in the morning. It will consist of 27 players. Sean O’Brien, Iain Henderson and Peter O’Mahony are returning to full fitness, along with Paddy Jackson, who is unavailable due to personal reasons, will not make the trip to Chicago.

Missing from the side is 61-cap veteran Mike Ross who has been dropped after playing two of Ireland’s three Tests against South Africa in June. Before missing the second Test against the Springboks, he was the only Irish player to have started in every Test of the Schmidt era. Also missing from that side are: Stuart Olding, Quinn Roux, Ian Madigan, Tiernan O’Halloran, Dave Kilcoyne and Sean Reidy.

New additions to the November test squad include Leinster halfback Luke McGrath, center Garry Ringrose, flyhalf New Zealand-born Joey Carbery and Hooker James Tracy. The later, will not be traveling to Chicago.

Munster has tighthead prop John Ryan and back Billy Holland, who has played more than 100 games for Munster on the squad.Wing Craig Gilroy also joins from Ulster.

Ireland Squad for Chicago: Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht), Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (capt), Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) *, Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht), Tadgh Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster), Craig Gilroy (Bangor/Ulster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) (vice-capt), Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster), Billy Holland (Cork Constitution/Munster) *, Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht), Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) *, Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) *
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) *, Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster), Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster), Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster)
* Denotes uncapped player

Ireland November Test Squad: Finlay Bealham, Rory Best (captain), Joe Carbery, Sean Cronin, Ultan Dillane, Keith Earls, Tadgh Furlong, Craig Gilroy, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Iain Henderson, Robbie Henshaw, Billy Holland, Paddy Jackson, Rob Kearney, Kieran Marmion, Luke Marshall, Jack McGrath, Luke McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Conor Murray, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, Jared Payne, Garry Ringrose, Donnacha Ryan, John Ryan, Jonathan Sexton, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, James Tracy, Andrew Trimble, Josh van der Flier, Simon Zebo.

New Zealand All Blacks

The All Blacks selectors, Steve Hansen, Ian Foster and Grant Fox, have selected their squad for the Vista 2016 All Blacks Northern Tour to the USA and Europe for Tests against Ireland, Italy and France.

The first of the November test matches for the All Blacks will be in Chicago in Soldier Field on Saturday November 5 at 3:00pm CDT (Sun 6 Nov, 9.00AM NZT). They then travel for three consecutive Saturdays in Europe to face Italy, Ireland and France.

They face Italy on Nov. 12 at 3:00pm CET (Sun 13 Nov, 3:00AM NZT) at Stadio Olimpico in Rome. They have a second match against Ireland on Nov. 19 at 5:30pm GMT (Sun 20 Nov, 6:30AM NZT) at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. They conclude their tests against France on Nov. 26 at 9:00pm CET (Sun 27 Nov, 9.00AM NZT) at Stade de France in Paris.

The New Zealand All Blacks established a new record for consecutive match wins at 18 on October 22, 2016 with their 37-10 win against the Australia’s Wallabies at Auckland in the Bledisloe Cup.They had previously held 17 consecutive match wins twice. They also have now won 45 consecutive wins on Zealand soil.

New Zealand and Ireland have played each other 28 times, with the All blacks winning 27 times with a 1973 match a draw. The teams last played on November 24, 2013 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin with New Zealand winning 24-22 after scoring a last minute try and conversion.

Several players weren’t considered for selection due to injury, including hookers Nathan Harris and James Parsons, centers Sonny Bill Williams and Charlie Ngatai and outside back Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Other injuries to lock Sam Whitelock in the recent test record breaking win over Australia, has Scott Barrett taking his place as an injury replacement. Lock Brodie Retallic also is undergoing concussion protocols and Vaea Fifita has been named as an injury replacement until a decision on whether he joins the squad will be made.

Two uncapped players have been included in the All Blacks squad. Center Rieko Ioane, who played for the New Zealand Sevens team at the Rio Olympics, the Blues and the Maori All Blacks joins the squad along with Otago hooker Liam Coltman.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Firstly, the selectors would like to congratulate all players selected for this Vista 2016 All Blacks Northern Tour. It’s always particularly exciting being named in a touring All Blacks squad. We welcome in Rieko who has been picked for the first time. He has shown tremendous abilities and deserves his opportunity.”

“We stated at the beginning of the season that this was a year of re-establishment. We are only three quarters of the way through the season, so one of our big goals for this Tour is to continue that re-establishment.”

“The Tour gives our leaders and the team the opportunity to continue to grow, in what will be different environments and against opposition that will bring a different style of game and skillsets. This will ask questions of us and, in doing so, challenge us.”

“Younger players will get more experience within the All Blacks environment, and it’ll allow the selectors and coaching group to keep working on blending the mixture of young talent with the more experienced players in our group. This will allow our game to continue to improve and will help ensure the team is future-proofed.

“As always, coaches, players and management will also need to continue to grow their skillsets and challenge themselves to improve their core roles.”

Steve Hansen and the All Blacks have enjoyed their Northern Hemisphere tours. Two years ago they played the USA Eagles before a sell out crowd of 61,500 at Soldier Field, the largest crowd to see a USA Rugby match.

Hansen continued saying “We’re looking forward to returning to Chicago, which is a fantastic city. The two Tests against Ireland will bring a unique ‘mini-series’ element to the tour, while Italy and France are always great places to tour and will throw up their own challenges.

“It’ll be our first time back in Europe since the Rugby World Cup, so we look forward to reconnecting with people up there; and it’s also the first All Blacks tour there for a number of players, so it’s going to be a great experience on a number of levels.”

The All Blacks will also be bringing Jordie Barrett, the younger brother of Beauden on the tour to learn as an “apprentice.” They previously did this with Ardie Savea in 2013.

Hansen said “We think it has huge benefits for a young player. Jordie will get all the experiences of touring and being part of the All Blacks group without the pressures of having to perform on the park. He is an outstanding prospect and has a big future in the game.”

New Zealand Rugby has partnered with the American firm Vista Equity Partners in a sponsorship deal for the All Blacks tour, known as the Vista 2016 All Blacks Northern Tour.

“Vista, which has offices in Austin, Chicago and San Francisco, and over $26 billion in cumulative capital commitments, currently invests in software, data and technology-based organisations led by world-class management teams with long-term perspective.”

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said that “We are delighted to partner with Vista on the All Blacks’ end of year tour. Vista is a successful and innovative company that prides itself on investing in winning teams and fostering a culture of excellence. Vista and the All Blacks both have a legacy of sustained success, and we look forward to working with them on the upcoming tour.”

Brian Sheth, Vista’s President and Co-Founder, said “Vista is excited to partner with an organisation that shares in its commitment to excellence. Working with the All Blacks is a natural partnership for Vista, and we look forward to supporting the team on their Northern Tour.”

The squad will again be captained by number eight Kieran Read, and consists of 20 forwards and 16 backs. It has a total of 1,157 Test caps experience and an average of 32 Test caps per player.

The All Blacks arrived in Chicago yesterday and have already run a youth rugby clinic.

New Zealand All Blacks Squad with caps: Hookers Dane Coles (Wellington,46), Codie Taylor (Canterbury,11), Liam Coltman (Otago,uncapped),  Props Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury,55), Charlie Faumuina (Auckland,42), Owen Franks (Canterbury,87), Joe Moody (Canterbury,20), Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Auckland,2) Locks Brodie Retallick (Hawke’s Bay,57), Luke Romano (Canterbury,26), Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland,10), Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury,82) Loose Forwards Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty,37), Elliot Dixon (Southland,2), Jerome Kaino (Auckland,74), Steven Luatua (Auckland,14), Kieran Read, captain (Canterbury,94),  Ardie Savea (Wellington,9), Liam Squire (Tasman,6), Matt Todd (Canterbury,5) Halfbacks Tawera Kerr–Barlow (Waikato,24), TJ Perenara (Wellington,26), Aaron Smith (Manawatu,54) Flyhalfs Beauden Barrett (Taranaki,46), Aaron Cruden (Manawatu,43), Lima Sopoaga (Southland,5) Centers Ryan Crotty (Canterbury,24), Malakai Fekitoa (Auckland,20), Anton Leinert-Brown (Waikato,5), George Moala (Auckland,3) Outside backs Israel Dagg (Hawke’s Bay,58), Rieko Ioane (Auckland,uncapped), Damian McKenzie (Waikato,1), Waisake Naholo (Taranaki,8), Julian Savea (Wellington,49), Ben Smith (Otago,58)

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant