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Carolan goes for strength

Ireland coach Nigel Carolan has gone for the Ulster pair of Jack Owens and Jacob Stockdale on the wings in order to stop New Zealand's potent threat down the outside channels in Viadana this evening (KO 7.30 Irish time, TG4 & BT Sport 2).

The physical presence of Owens, making his first appearance here, and Stockdale, normally an outside centre, are the preferred options ahead of the silkier touches of Stephen Fitzgerald and Ciaran Gaffney.

Hooker Zack McCall and openside Rory Moloney have also suitably recovered to complete the four changes.

"This is a big game for both sides, the winner of this will have a guaranteed place in the semi-finals," said Carolan.

"New Zealand are a good team, so we will need to be brilliant for the full 80 minutes to give ourselves a chance.

"However, in preparation for a tough battle, we have recovered well from our last outing and have identified some key areas which we hope we can take advantage of."

Anyone familiar with Rob Penney's width-of-the-pitch style when he was at Munster will recognise the Crusaders' stamp of coaches Scott Robertson and Leon McDonald.

They can call on rampaging number eight Akira Ioane and the most dangerous attacker in the competition, Tevita Li, to profit from space, especially as bodies and minds tire in the heat.

It is up front Ireland must shackle the Baby Blacks with a muscularity that they have not shown in their two wins with their set-piece to come under scrutiny.

Ireland: B Dardis (Leinster); J Owens (Ulster), G Ringrose (Leinster), S Arnold, J Stockdale (both Ulster); J Carbery, N McCarthy (capt); A Porter (all Leinster), Z McCall (Ulster), O Heffernan, D O'Connor (both Leinster), A Thompson (Ulster), J Murphy (Leinster), R Moloney (Connacht), L Dow (Ulster).

New Zealand: L Laulala; T Li, Josh Goodhue, N Apa, V Aso; O Black, T Tahuriorangi; I Tu'Ungafasi, L Polwart, A Moli (capt), Jack Goodhue, H Dalzell, J Blackwell, B Gibson, A Ioane.

Verdict: New Zealand