Kearney comes in as Ireland host All Blacks

Beauden Barrett collides with Rob Kearney

"We're going to need our best performance of the season, I think, the way the Irish have been playing", Read said at the captain's run.

For New Zealand, it's a second loss of the year, and when one considers that they were extremely fortunate to beat both the Boks at Loftus and England at Twickenham, there is a growing sense that the world champs are no longer infallible.

Stander, who was enjoying his best game for Ireland, got the ball over the line, before Rob Kearney had an effort chalked off for a knock-on and eventually Ireland settled for three points from the collapsed scrum. "We're in a good space mentally so it's about being ready physically to get the job done".

"I think it's a big call and a statement of intent from Joe Schmidt that Marmion now is his No 2 guy", he said of Marmion who has been picked to start ahead of McGrath at the Aviva Stadium.

"The Irish are undoubtedly the best side up here (in the northern hemisphere) at the moment, so to challenge ourselves in their conditions is an exciting one for us".

Stockdale won the kick-off, but Ireland couldn't make their territory count as Ardie Savea got in over the ball and forced a penalty after a looser than usual set of phases.

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This sets up what could be a highly entertaining Sunday night game between these two high-powered teams with playoff aspirations. When Minnesota's defense is on the field, it will be out to stop the Chicago offense.

"We've got to find our opportunities (to try to win the ball), we can't be too hungry to look for those opportunities, discipline's going to be crucial. They're very good at finding a way when things are not going the way they want them to go".

The 2016 win at Soldier Field in Chicago will be foremost in the minds of most Irish supporters this weekend but that was superseded two weeks later when the All Blacks exacted a swift and awful revenge at the Aviva Stadium. Jordi Murphy has come into the reserves.

There is no suggestion Tuesday's session contributed to Leavy's injury, but skipper Rory Best admitted the only way to prepare to face New Zealand was to "gear up" physically.

"With 20 minutes left to play in South Africa recently they were down 20-13 - that's an incredible turnaround to get up and win that game - but they have made a habit of doing it, albeit sometimes it's by a whisker".

"So every time we went to train after that we had a drill and it was intense and it was for four minutes and 22 seconds so you knew that during a match you could go full-on for that length of time, push your lungs and push your legs to the limit because you had already experienced the pressure during the week".

"You've got to be confident when you've had the success that this team has had".

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