KEITH Earls returns to the Ireland side for Saturday’s third and final Test match with New Zealand in Hamilton having recovered from a chest injury.
Earls has recovered from his chest injury he picked up in the first test against the All-Blacks earlier this month and is selected on the left wing in place of Andrew Trimble, who moves to the replacements.
Ireland coach Declan Kidney said: “Keith’s stated preference is he prefers to play at 13 but Brian (O’Driscoll) is not one to give it up too easily.
“He is a great team player and he is happy to be back in. He has rehabbed quite well, which is a credit to the medical team and himself. He has trained well this week.”
Earls inclusion is one of three changes Irish coach Declan Kidney makes to his starting linbe-up for Saturday’s game.
Paddy Wallace, who was called out as a replacement for the tour after Gordon D’Arcy returned home injured, goes straight into the side at inside centre in place of D’Arcy.
Peter O’Mahony, who came off the bench during the second test, is selected to start at No.8 as Jamie Heaslip is ruled out due to a broken finger. Back row Chris Henry comes into the replacements to fill the spot left after O’Mahony’s promotion to the starting fifteen.
Kidney admitted that it was ‘not ideal’ that Wallace only arrived on Tuesday evening but he feels the coaching staff have allayed any jet-lag concerns.
He said: “Paddy has always been a great player for Ireland. We talk about the squad ethic and what Paddy has given in the background, and in his 10 years’ service to the Irish team, has been fantastic.”
All Blacks fly-half Carter, who kicked the winning drop goal in the second Test, has been ruled out with a sore hamstring that he strained in training and has been replaced by Aaron Cruden.
Saturday’s game will begin at 8.35am Irish time and will be televised live on Sky Sports.
Ireland v New Zealand: Rob Kearney (Leinster); Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster), Captain, Paddy Wallace (Ulster), Keith Earls (Munster); Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster); Cian Healy (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), Mike Ross (Leinster); Dan Tuohy (Ulster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster); Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster), Sean O’Brien (Leinster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster).
Replacements: Sean Cronin (Leinster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Ronan O’Gara (Munster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster).