Ireland's world-class halfback Conor Murray has been ruled out of this weekend's highly anticipated test against the All Blacks in Dublin.
One of the stars of the British and Irish Lions series draw with the world champions in 2017, Murray hasn't played since June after suffering a neck injury, but despite team management confirming he was recovering quicker than expected, they said he won't play again in 2018.
- Winner can claim world's best tag, says coach Steve Hansen
- Sonny Bill Williams side-lined by shoulder injury
The news capped a horrible 24 hours for the Irish with first choice midfield back Robbie Henshaw also withdrawing from Sunday mornings (NZT) test.
Henshaw was pivotal in Ireland's only won over the All Blacks in Chicago two years ago, scoring a try and creating others but he hasn't recovered from a hamstring strain suffered in the build-up to last weekend's test with Argentina.
With another Lions tourist Sean O'Brien facing a serious stint on the sidelines with a broken arm, the world's number two ranked side will be far from full strength for the test.
With Henshaw on the shelf former Chiefs second-five Bundee Aki is almost certain to start alongside the talented Gary Ringrose who sat out the Pumas test after suffering a few bumps and bruises against the Italians in Chicago two weeks ago.
The All Blacks will be without Joe Moody (eye) and Sonny Bill Williams (shoulder) for the clash between the two highest ranked rugby sides in the world.
Join us at 7:30am Sunday for live updates of the All Blacks vs Ireland at Dublin.