Ireland flanker Dan Leavy ruled out of New Zealand game

Dan Leavy is out of Ireland's crunch clash with New Zealand on Saturday. Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

DUBLIN -- Josh van der Flier will start for Ireland against New Zealand in Dublin on Saturday after loose-forward Dan Leavy was ruled out with injury.

Van der Flier was initially named as a replacement and his spot on the bench will be taken by Jordi Murphy for the crunch clash between the top two ranked sides in the world.

Leinster flank Leavy did not train on Thursday, but was initially named in the side by coach Joe Schmidt.

He also failed to take part in the captain's run on Friday and has now been withdrawn with his coach suggesting earlier in the week that the 24-year-old was "stiff and sore".

"He's just been sore from the week before. Full-body soreness. Nothing too specific," Schmidt told reporters.

"As a result he didn't sleep overly well, which is another warning sign for us that if we push him too hard he would fall under that fatigue and not be better."

Schmidt also backed Van der Flier earlier this week, saying he was a stand-out performer when Ireland lost 21-9 to New Zealand in Dublin in 2016.

"I don't know if you remember the last time we played the All Blacks here, Josh van der Flier had a phenomenal entry into the game. He had two searing line-breaks and really impressed," he said.

Ireland have also bolstered their lineout and defence under the high ball by bringing lock Devin Toner and fit-again Rob Kearney back into their side for Saturday's clash of the world's top two sides.

Kearney, one of the game's best defenders under a high ball, returns at full-back in place of 21-year-old Jordan Larmour, who drops back to the bench after struggling under a barrage of towering Argentinean kicks last week.

Ireland's lineout also malfunctioned in the lacklustre 28-17 win over Argentina and coach Joe Schmidt will call on Toner to rectify that, with one of the most reliable players of his tenure coming in for Iain Henderson.

The only other change was enforced with Garry Ringrose, another key man returning to fitness, coming in at centre for the injured Robbie Henshaw.

Ireland are seeking a first win over the All Blacks in Dublin, which would be a major boost heading into next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, where they are among those expected to challenge New Zealand for the global crown.

Ireland team to play New Zealand

Team: 15. Rob Kearney, 14. Keith Earls, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. Jacob Stockdale, 10. Jonathan Sexton, 9. Kieran Marmion; 1. Cian Healy, 2. Rory Best (captain), 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Devin Toner, 5. James Ryan, 6. Peter O'Mahony, 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. CJ Stander

Replacements: 16. Sean Cronin, 17. Jack McGrath, 18. Andrew Porter, 19. Iain Henderson, 20. Jordi Murphy, 21. Luke McGrath, 22. Joey Carbery, 23. Jordan Larmour