Flyhalf Sexton relishing New Zealand barometer for Ireland

Flyhalf Sexton relishing New Zealand barometer for Ireland

Flyhalf Sexton relishing New Zealand barometer for Ireland

"I just think he is a real competitor, he will want to play and if he's got the chance I'm picking he will want to play".

Following the 28-17 victory over the Pumas at the Aviva Stadium, the Ireland management have said that a couple of players will be managed in training today, but all are expected to train fully on Tuesday and Thursday ahead of next Saturday's showdown with New Zealand (kick-off 7pm).

Schmidt said his players had to expect a major increase in intensity this week in a match being billed as an unofficial world championship between the champions of south and north.

All Blacks legend Richie McCaw believes New Zealand would be prepared to dispense with their policy of only appointing head coaches from within if they deem Joe Schmidt to be the best possible successor to Steve Hansen.

"And, while Chicago was a great band-aid, in fact it was a full bandage - it was great but two weeks later we were very, very much in the game and it was very tough - very, very tough".

Potent centre Robbie Henshaw will also miss Saturday's crunch clash with a hamstring injury in a double blow to the hosts, but talisman fly-half Sexton insisted Murray was wise not to take any risks.

Both coaches' contracts expire after next year's Rugby World Cup and the 53-year-old Schmidt has been touted as successor to Hansen, who has been involved with the team since 2004.

The All Blacks may have won the last meeting, but it came with the British and Irish media accusing the world champions of pushing the boundaries of physicality as they set out to gain "brutal revenge" for the Chicago upset. They turn it over, go the length of the pitch and score.

Although the All Blacks started poorly against England at the weekend, Sexton reckons that they will take a lot from that game due to their ability to come from 15-0 down in torrential conditions and emerge victorious, albeit by the narrowest of margins.

"They really expose you when you're loose with the ball and so everything is a bit more important this week".

Schmidt added, "Again, if you follow on, I think he beat four tackles in his next carry". That's a massive lead.

"They're nervous about Argentina and how good they are. It changed the whole complexion of the game".

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