Ireland confident on Henshaw, Murray an outside bet for All Blacks

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"We've got a few options, and you have Tadhg Beirne, who is half a second row and half a back-row".

"In the context of some guys that are a little bit doubtful, that is really important to us".

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief Steve Tew has previously indicated that Schmidt was among the names that the NZR was considering to succeed current coach Steve Hansen, when his contract expires after next year's Rugby World Cup.

Sexton, up for world player of the year with two All Blacks, wanted Ireland's best on the field on Saturday.

"I think everybody sits there hoping one day he'll come back and put himself back in the mix in New Zealand, and we get the benefit of all the experience he's had at an global level and obviously quite a few years successfully at club level as well".

Head coach Schmidt will hope Bundee Aki shakes off the minor ankle issue he picked up against the Pumas, though he was reported to be walking around unimpeded in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's Dublin victory. "They are competitors and if Conor Murray says he is all right to play, he is all right to play".

"In Pretoria, when they came from behind, they [South Africa] are on New Zealand's line, they're 12 points up with 10 minutes to go and you think "game over".

"Sean has broken his right arm so he obviously won't be available for the rest of the Guinness Series", Schmidt confirmed. They were the midfield when Ireland beat England in March for the Six Nations Grand Slam.

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Joe Schmidt has admitted he is "still bleeding" from Ireland's last-gasp 24-22 defeat to New Zealand in 2013.

Management will continue to monitor Rob Kearney and Gary Ringrose this week, as they step up injury recovery.

Ireland claimed an historic 40-29 victory over the world champions in Chicago in 2016, but two weeks later were beaten 21-9 in Dublin and are still waiting for a first home victory over the All Blacks in 113 years of trying.

"As physical as it was against Argentina, playing against New Zealand has been a step up".

"He may be (out) for a week, maybe two".

The man who led the All Blacks to successive World Cups in 2011.

"I've never played against a team that would capitalize on a mistake (so well)".

Joe Schmidt will let Conor Murray decide himself whether the British and Irish Lions scrum-half should make a surprise return against New Zealand.

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