Our event of the day is the Autumn International fixture between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. This is a highly anticipated match as it pits the first and second ranked sides in the world against one another. Ireland enter their biggest match of the calendar year having won 28-17 over Argentina in a hard-hitting match last weekend. Meanwhile, New Zealand will try to improve on their one-point win over England last Saturday. Be sure you don’t miss what is sure to be a match to remember. Irish rugby is in a very good place right now. In the spring, they powered their way to a Grand Slam victory in the Six Nations. In June, they took two of three games to secure a series victory in a tour of Australia. The team is a potent blend of fiery youth, experienced veterans and impressive depth, something that many teams sorely lack. That means that coach Joe Schmidt doesn’t have to worry about weakening his team too much as he makes a number of changes from last week’s side. Notably missing from the team is Seán O’Brien, who broke his arm in the win over Argentina. He was set to be replaced by star flanker Dan Leavy, but Leavy was also ruled out of the game due to injury. However, the depth chart came through for Schmidt and he starts Leinster’s Josh van der Flier at flanker. The 6 foot 1, 229 pound flanker from Ireland’s best domestic team will be no less of a problem for the All Blacks than the usual starting flankers.
New Zealand’s Beauden Barrett, a fast and precise player, will start the game at fly-half, and is the key to New Zealand’s attacking efficiency. Last week, a disallowed try for England is what secured a memorable victory for New Zealand. The All Blacks had clawed their way back from being 15-0 down to holding a 16-15 lead with four minutes to play when England’s Sam Underhill had a try disallowed due to an offside call on a review of the play. Despite this lucky break for New Zealand, England’s performance showed up some potential cracks in the vaunted All Blacks side. With less than a year to the World Cup, which could feasibly see an Ireland versus New Zealand final, the All Blacks need to show the world why they are number one. It should be an incredible game at the Aviva Stadium.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to T20 Cricket, where Australia host South Africa for a one-off T20 match at the Carrara Oval. Australia have enjoyed a mixed success in cricket during 2018 and come into this one-off match following a tough 2-1 ODI series loss to South Africa. However, Australia will not go down quietly, with batsman Chris Lynn saying he has a “point to prove” against the visitors. Expect a hard-fought game of cricket on the Gold Coast. Elsewhere, in NCAA Football, Florida State host 20th ranked Boston College, who are enjoying their best season since 2009, at Doak Campbell Stadium. In the NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers travel to the Spectrum Center to face the Charlotte Hornets. In the UEFA Nations League, Italy host Portugal at the Giuseppe Meazza in Milan. The quarter-finals continue at the Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton. The Golf DP World Tour Championship continues in Dubai.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Irish Rugby; All Blacks
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