Johnny Sexton will return to Ireland duty for the second Test against New Zealand, just a week after suffering a head injury in the opening game of the series.

The fly-half and captain had to be replaced half an hour into the first Test after he failed a head injury assessment; however, he has been passed fit to feature on Saturday.

Coach Andy Farrell named his team on Thursday for a game that will be played under a roof at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, with Mack Hansen coming in on the right wing.

Ireland are otherwise unchanged, and to be able to call on Sexton is a boost to their prospects.

Peter O'Mahony took on the captaincy responsibility after Sexton went off early in Ireland's 42-19 defeat in Auckland, and he welcomed confirmation that the 36-year-old would be available.

Quoted by the Irish Independent, O'Mahony said: "There is no secret, Johnny is one of the best 10s in the world, one of the best players in the world, so you want to be dealing with a full deck.

"We want to be playing with as full a bill of health as possible and there isn't anyone you can say you can afford to have out with regard to having three games in the space of nine or 10 days. He is hugely important to us, obviously our captain. I am far from a medical practitioner, but he has been in good form."

New Zealand have a concussion absentee, with Sam Whitelock ruled out, meaning Scott Barrett is switched to lock from his flanker role as Dalton Papalii comes into the team.


New Zealand team: J Barrett, Reece, Ioane, Tupaea, Fainga'anuku, B Barrett, Smith, Savea, Cane (captain), Papalii, S Barrett, Retallick, Tu'ungafasi, Taylor, Bower.

Replacement: Taukei'aho, Ross, Ta'avao, Tuipulotu, Sowakula, Fakatava, Mo'unga, Jordan.

Ireland team: Keenan, Hansen, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe, Sexton, Gibson Park; Porter, Sheehan, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Herring, Healy, Bealham, Treadwell, Conan, Murray, Carbery, Aki.