Conor Murray waiting for Joe Schmidt’s call, dismal Man United lose derby

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Bundee Aki celebrates with his fmaily after Ireland’s win over Argentina. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Bundee Aki celebrates with his fmaily after Ireland’s win over Argentina. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The visit of the All Blacks is just five days away. On Saturday, the world’s two best rugby sides will go toe-to-toe at the Aviva Stadium in a fixture which will stop the nation. And Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has plenty to mull over before he names his XV for the visit of the world champions, following his side’s 28-17 win over Argentina on Saturday. One player who definitely won’t be involved is Seán O’Brien after he broke his arm during the first half of the win over Los Pumas - however Schmidt has refused to rule out the possibility of Conor Murray making a surprise return against New Zealand. He said: “It’s not the injury, it’s really just how ready Conor is. How fully fit he is because the injury itself has gone really well, but it is tough to come back into a game of that magnitude though. It is highly unlikely he will be involved, but as I said, I will talk to him.”

One of Ireland’s standout performers against Argentina was the mighty Bundee Aki, who gave his usual showing of silk and steel in midfield. Auckland-born Aki could be in line to face his compatriots for the first time next weekend, and this morning Gregor Paul - the New Zealand Herald on Sunday’s rugby correspondent - has looked at the difficult relationship the All Blacks and their supporters have with the ‘Celtic Kiwis.’ He writes: “They can brush it off if the All Blacks continue to win. An Ireland side that loses to the All Blacks can be considered an Irish team. An Irish team that wins suddenly starts to look like an Irish-fusion team, with the Kiwi element within it no longer viewed as happy-go-lucky opportunists, but men who have stabbed their homeland in the back.”

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