Picking A Combined Ireland & All Blacks XV Based On This Weekend’s Teams

Best of the best.

Ahead of this weekend’s clash between Ireland and the All Blacks we’ve decided to have a look at what a combined XV might look like if you break it down player by player.

And surprisingly – we reckon there isn’t too much between the two sides when you look at the players one by one. We reckon they’re pretty evenly matched up actually, with 8 All Blacks and 7 Irishmen making our XV…

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1. Cian Healy vs Karl Tu’inukuafe
The All Blacks loosehead has enjoyed an incredible rise over the last few months, from bouncer to Test star. But we ‘re gonna go with Healy’s experience here. Verdict: Cian Healy

2. Rory Best vs Codie Taylor.
Taylor played in the back-row when Ireland defeated the All Blacks in Chicago two years ago, but since then he’s developed into one of the world’s finest hookers. Pips Best for us. Verdict: Codie Taylor

3. Tadhg Furlong vs Owen Franks.
Franks is one of the best tightheads in the world, but Furlong is the best tighthead in the world. No question here. Verdict: Tadhg Furlong.

4. Devin Toner vs Brodie Retallick
The Leinster lock is one of the finest lineout operators in the world, but Retallick is different gravy. Verdict: Brodie Retallick

5. James Ryan vs Samuel Whitelock
This is a tough one. Whitelock is an absolute beast, but Ryan is one of the best young players in the world right now. We’re gonna be bias here and give Ryan the nod. Verdict: James Ryan

6. Peter O’Mahony vs Liam Squire
Squire is developing into an excellent international, but you simply cannot give him the nod over a player like Peter O’Mahony. Verdict: Peter O’Mahony

7. Dan Leavy vs Ardie Savea
Savea has finally be given his chance to stake a claim in the seven jersey in Sam Cane’s absence, having spent most of his international career to date as a replacement. But we’d still have Dan Leavy at openside over the 33-times capped New Zealander. Verdict: Dan Leavy

8. CJ Stander vs Kieran Read
Another tough one here. Stander is an absolute machine and when on form – not many come close. But the All Blacks captain still probably just edges the Munster man. Verdict: Kieran Read

9. Kieran Marmion vs Aaron Smith
Had Conor Murray been starting tomorrow Ireland would have another player in the combined XV, but Smith is miles ahead of Marmion unfortunately. Verdict: Aaron Smith

10. Johnny Sexton vs Beauden Barrett
We’re gonna go with Johnny Sexton here because we’ve got a dastardly plan below. Verdict: Johnny Sexton

11. Jacob Stockdale vs Rieko Ioane
Both players enjoyed phenomenal breakout seasons last year, but the All Black is that little bit further down the line. Verdict: Rieko Ioane

12. Bundee Aki vs Ryan Crotty
Two very similar players who rarely make a mistake. But Crotty realistically is the better centre. Verdict: Ryan Crotty

13. Garry Ringrose vs Jack Goodhue
The Crusaders centre has just six New Zealand caps to his name, but has looked impressive so far. Ringrose though, offers that little bit more creativity and spark, so we’re gonna go with the Irishman. Verdict: Garry Ringrose

14. Keith Earls vs Ben Smith
As much as I’d love to pick Keith Earls here, you simply cannot overlook a player as good as Ben Smith. He’s world class. Verdict: Ben Smith

15. Rob Kearney vs Damian McKenzie
Here’s where my dastardly plan comes into play… Rather than choose between Barrett and Sexton, I’ve slotted the All Blacks playmaker in at 15 to accommodate both. Genius if you ask me. Verdict: Beauden Barrett.

Combined Ireland & All Blacks XV

15. Beauden Barrett (NZ)
14. Ben Smith (NZ)
13. Garry Ringrose (IRE)
12. Ryan Crotty (NZ)
11. Rieko Ioane (NZ)
10. Johnny Sexton (IRE)
9. Aaron Smith (NZ)

1. Cian Healy (IRE)
2. Codie Taylor (NZ)
3. Tadhg Furlong (IRE)
4. Brodie Retallick (NZ)
5. James Ryan (IRE)
6. Peter O’Mahony (IRE)
7. Dan Leavy (IRE)
8. Kieran Read (NZ)