Ireland will look to end their Rugby World Cup quarter-final jinx when they take on New Zealand at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Ranked number one in the world, they have won 17 Tests in a row but still have something to prove, having never made it to the semi-finals of the global showpiece.

The most recent of those last-eight eliminations came four years ago when they went down 46-14 to Saturday’s opponents. New Zealand then lost to England in the semi-finals and their inconsistent results over the last four years have seen them lose some of their previous aura.

A 27-13 opening night defeat to France set them back but Ian Foster’s team have shown improvement in their three subsequent matches, notably beating Italy 96-17.

 

While the three-time winners have eased through their last trio of outings, Ireland will be battle-hardened. They beat South Africa 13-8 and scorched past Scotland 36-14, both at the Stade de France, to top Pool B and will take some stopping as they chase another victory in Saint-Denis.

Ireland vs New Zealand Prediction

  • Ireland win by 1-12 points inclusive @ 19/10
  • James Lowe Anytime Tryscorer @ 13/8

Team news

Wingers Mack Hansen and James Lowe have recovered from knocks to allow Ireland to name an unchanged XV from the side that beat Scotland.

They have made two changes on the bench, with Joe McCarthy replacing James Ryan, who is absent with a hand injury, while the versatile Jimmy O’Brien gets the nod ahead of Stuart McCloskey to cover the outside backs.

New Zealand have made six changes from the run-on side against Namibia, including Beauden Barrett returning at full-back in place of the benched Damian McKenzie.

Leicester Fainga’anuku keeps his place in the starting XV, with first-choice left-wing Mark Telea left out due to unspecified disciplinary reasons.

Ireland win by 1-12 points inclusive @ 19/20

Ireland may have won just five of the pair’s previous 36 games but all of those have come in the last eight meetings, including three of the last four.

That recent trio of victories have been won by between nine and 11 points and they could be good for something similar on Saturday.

Ireland’s win over South Africa was a statement and they were sensational against the Scots, only allowing their Six Nations rivals in for points once the result was already sealed.

The Kiwis will be better than they were against France but that is unlikely to be enough against Andy Farrell’s side, who have won 17 on the spin and look set to finally overcome their quarter-final hoodoo.

James Lowe Anytime Tryscorer @ 13/8

Born in New Zealand, Lowe never quite worked his way into the All Black picture but has excelled after joining Leinster in 2017.

The residency rules saw him become eligible for Ireland in 2020 and he has become a vital member of the side, with his kicking game offering something extra in the back-field, while his defensive nous often sees him cover across to snuff out attacks.

Lowe also loves to attack, scoring in the wins over Tonga and the Scots during this tournament. However, few of his international scores were celebrated with such gusto as his one against the All Blacks in November 2021.

The 31-year-old was a minor doubt after a poke in the eye saw him withdrawn against Scotland but there was never any real worry he would miss Saturday’s match and his roots mean he has extra motivation to cross the whitewash.

Match Odds

Ireland are the 8/11 favourites coming into the game, with New Zealand 11/8 and the tie 18/1.

Kiwi wing Will Jordan has scored in his last three outings against Ireland, crossing in Dublin in 2021 and doing so again in Dunedin and Wellington in 2022. He is 13/8 in the Anytime Tryscorer market.

 

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