Saturday 20 January 2018

Capacity crowds expected to watch Ireland in final two Tests

Hugh Farrelly in Christchurch

IRELAND and the All Blacks will play before a capacity crowd in the second Test at the AMI Stadium this weekend as Christchurch welcomes international rugby back to the city for the first time in two years following the 2011 earthquake.

The stadium has been undergoing redevelopment since sustaining damage in the earthquake but a temporary stand has added 4,000 extra seats bringing the capacity up to 21,000 for Saturday’s showdown. The All Blacks have not played an international in Christchurch since facing Australia there in August 2010 and New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew is expecting it to be a special occasion on Saturday.







"The Stadium is looking great with the new and larger temporary stand, and the boys are pleased to be here,” said Tew. “With many of the All Blacks hailing from Christchurch, this match will represent something for the team.”







Both sides name their starting teams tomorrow with Ireland hopeful that Mike Ross will be available to line out at tight-head prop after missing the 42-10 first Test defeat in Eden Park last weekend while Gordon D’Arcy is favourite to come into the centre following injury to Keith Earls.







New Zealand are expected to name Adam Thomson at blindside flanker after Victor Vito was ruled out of the remainder of the series with a medial problem.



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