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Ireland lose another back rower

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Ireland forced to make flanker switch

Ireland flanker Dan Leavy has failed a fitness test for Saturday’s encounter with New Zealand so Josh van der Flier will replace him in the team.

Leavy, who has won 11 caps for the Irish, had been named in Joe Schmidt’s starting line-up despite not training on Thursday and after being assessed again a day later, it was determined a “general tightness” would prevent him from facing the All Blacks.

In his absence, Leinster team-mate Van der Flier with make his 12th international appearance in a clash between the two top-ranked Test nations in Dublin.

Ulster’s Jordi Murphy has now been added to the bench for Schmidt’s side.

“It is something we had to deal with last week when Robbie [Henshaw] injured his hamstring in the warm-up, and in March 2017 against England we had to deal with it [at the] last minute with Jamie Heaslip,” said captain Rory Best.

“Actually, Dan was the one who came onto the bench and came on quite early in that game. Josh trained yesterday, they all slot in the back row anyway. Josh, even on the bench, knows his role inside out. You are replacing a quality player with two more quality players.”

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Ireland forced to make flanker switch