Rob Kearney has fended off Jordan Larmour’s challenge to Begin Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand in Tokyo Stadium on Saturday.
Full-back Kearney missed Ireland triumph over Samoa having neglected to train completely in the week leading up to that win in Fukuoka.
His Leinster team-mate Larmour impressed against the Samoans as Ireland secured the bonus-point win required to reserve their place in the last eight, to what amounts to Ireland’s strongest beginning XV, barring the suspended Bundee Aki but Kearney has been revived by head coach Joe Schmidt.
Garry Ringrose yields at outside centre with Robbie Henshaw stepping inside to 12 to offset the absence.
Peter O’Mahony slots in ahead of Tadhg Beirne in blindside flanker, together with Rory Best captaining both in an unchanged tight five.
“There were half a dozen fairly tight selection decisions,” said Schmidt. “And you also weigh up the experiences, previous performances against other opposition.
“You can not guarantee you’ve got any choice right until the game is completed.
“Chris Farrell has been quite great for us, really come on and created a powerful impact against Scotland. Andrew Conway has been very good and thus the external backs are a small conundrum.
“We’ve attempted to include as best we can the mixtures we believe that will serve us in this fixture.
“You can not go out from the All Blacks and accept that you’re second fiddle. You have got to go outside and put your very best foot forward.”
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Cian Healy, 2 Rory Best (c), 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Iain Henderson, 5 James Ryan, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 CJ Stander.
Replacements: 23 Jordan Larmour, 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery.