New Zealand vs Ireland LIVE rugby: Latest build-up and updates from 2nd Test in Dunedin


World Rugby defends head-injury protocols in wake of Johnny Sexton’s selection

World Rugby has warned against “irresponsible” remote head-injury diagnosis in defending its Head Injury Assessment (HIA) protocols.

Safety campaign group Progressive Rugby has claimed HIA checks are “being exposed” in the wake of Johnny Sexton’s selection for Ireland’s second Test against New Zealand.

Talismanic fly-half Sexton failed HIA1 – an on-field assessment – in Ireland’s 42-19 defeat by the All Blacks in Auckland last weekend.

Progressive Rugby has called into question Sexton’s subsequent selection for Saturday’s second Test in Dunedin, raising fears over the HIA process.

But World Rugby has stressed that failing the HIA1 on-field assessment does not automatically mean a player has sustained concussion.

World Rugby defends head-injury protocols in wake of Johnny Sexton’s selection

Progressive Rugby has claimed the HIA checks are ‘being exposed’

Johnny Sexton’s Ireland selection raises concern with safety campaigners

Safety campaigners have warned that rugby’s head-injury checks are “being exposed” after Johnny Sexton was selected for Ireland’s second Test against New Zealand.

Talismanic fly-half Sexton failed an on-pitch assessment in last weekend’s 42-19 first Test defeat by the All Blacks, leaving the field and not returning.

Ireland confirmed earlier this week that Sexton passed the latter stages of the head-injury assessment (HIA) process, however, leaving the 36-year-old available for Saturday’s second Test in Dunedin.

Sexton was duly named in Ireland’s starting line-up on Thursday, in a move that raised concerns with safety campaign group Progressive Rugby.

“Elite players who fail an in-game HIA1 have, by definition, displayed cognitive dysfunction requiring their removal,” said a Progressive Rugby spokesperson.

“In our view, this is sufficient evidence, regardless of subsequent testing, to exercise extreme caution for the good of both their short and long-term health.”

Johnny Sexton’s Ireland selection raises concern with safety campaigners

The fly-half has been cleared to play after failing an on-pitch assessment in the first Test

Ireland hammered by ruthless New Zealand in Auckland

Ireland capitulated following a strong start and lost captain Johnny Sexton to injury as a clinical New Zealand side recorded an emphatic 42-19 first-Test victory in Auckland.

Keith Earls scored his 35th international try inside six minutes as Andy Farrell’s side flew out of the blocks at a sold-out Eden Park but things swiftly unravelled on a punishing evening.

Ardie Savea claimed two of the ruthless All Blacks’ six tries, with Jordie Barrett, Sevu Reece, Quinn Tupaea and debutant Pita Gus Sowakula also crossing.

Influential fly-half Sexton was forced off in the aftermath of Reece’s breakaway try and later failed a head injury assessment to compound a miserable outing.

Ireland, who made the scoreline more respectable thanks to second-half scores from Garry Ringrose and New Zealand-born Bundee Aki, paid a heavy price for repeated defensive lapses and face an uphill task to salvage the series.

Ireland hammered by ruthless New Zealand in Auckland

Ardie Savea claimed two of the All Blacks’ six tries

New Zealand vs Ireland team news

Despite the first Test humbling, Andy Farrell has opted for just one change to the starting XV as Mack Hansen, who was ruled out of the opening match due to Covid, replaces Keith Earls on the wing. Captain Johnny Sexton starts at fly-half despite failing an HIA in Auckland, having subsequently passed further head injury assessments meaning there is no confirmed concussion. On the bench, Rob Herring comes in as replacement hooker and Finlay Bealham covers tighthead after missing the first Test with Covid.

The All Blacks have also made just one change, as Dalton Papalii comes into the back row, with Scott Barrett moving to lock after Sam Whitelock was ruled out with delayed onset concussion. Two players are in line to make their Test debuts from the bench – prop Aidan Ross and scrum-half Folau Fakatava.

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Quinn Tupeaa, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith; 1 George Bower, 2 Codie Taylor, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Scott Barrett, 6 Dalton Papalii, 7 Sam Cane (c), 8 Ardie Savea.

Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukeiaho, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Will Jordan.

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park; 1 Andrew Porter, 2 Dan Sheehan, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 5 James Ryan, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 Caelan Doris.

Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Finlay Bealham, 18 Cian Healy, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Bundee Aki.

Is New Zealand vs Ireland on TV today? Kick-off time, channel and how to watch summer tour

Ireland head to Dunedin for the second of three Tests against New Zealand on Saturday (kick-off 8.05am BST), looking to bounce back from a humbling defeat a week ago.

The All Blacks had lost three of their previous six Tests heading into the series opener but as it turns out, reports of their demise had been greatly exaggerated. They withstood an early Ireland storm before crushing them in the 20 minutes before half-time to notch a comprehensive 42-19 victory.

Andy Farrell’s men are therefore still looking for a first win on New Zealand soil in their history and although they did show more fight in the second half, it will still be a huge ask to triumph at Otago Stadium.

They will at least have talismanic skipper Johnny Sexton to call upon after the fly-half has controversially been deemed fit despite exiting the first Test due to a suspected concussion. He failed his first HIA to be forced out of the action early in Auckland but passed HIA2 and HIA3 and, under current rules, that means he doesn’t have to miss this weekend’s contest despite his history of head injuries.

Here’s all you need to know about the second Test:

Is New Zealand vs Ireland on TV? Kick-off time, channel and how to watch summer tour

Everything you need to know ahead of the second Test in Dunedin

New Zealand vs Ireland

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the second Test of Ireland’s tour to New Zealand.

Heading into last week’s opening Test, the All Blacks had lost three of their previous six Tests but, as it turns out, reports of their demise had been greatly exaggerated. They withstood an early Ireland storm before crushing them in the 20 minutes before half-time to notch a comprehensive 42-19 victory.

Andy Farrell’s men are therefore still looking for a first win on New Zealand soil in their history and although they did show more fight in the second half, it will still be a huge ask to triumph at Otago Stadium.

They will at least have talismanic skipper Johnny Sexton to call upon after the fly-half has controversially been deemed fit despite exiting the first Test due to a suspected concussion. He failed his first HIA to be forced out of the action early in Auckland but passed HIA2 and HIA3 and, under current rules, that means he doesn’t have to miss this weekend’s contest despite his history of head injuries.

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