All Blacks v Ireland will decide rugby's top dog, says Steve Hansen

Joe Schmidt

"They'll be better for that experience as well".

"We've got a few options, and you have Tadhg Beirne, who is half a second row and half a back-row".

Centre Robbie Henshaw will also miss the duel between the two top ranked teams in the world - as well as the United States match a week on Saturday - after suffering a hamstring strain while warming-up shortly before kick-off against the Pumas last Saturday.

"These are the big games that you do all the work for, you do all the practice for", Sexton said. But the guys that are available will do a great job.

"So we'll have a great plan, we'll have some experiences of what's worked against them in the past, what hasn't worked and where they are the most risky but then you've got to go out and implement it".

Sexton, who admitted the Irish were a bit rusty in their 28-17 victory over Argentina on Saturday, says the greatest danger lies in the All Blacks ability to seize on one slip and change the complexion of the game.

"I haven't got tickets, so I can't give you tickets".

"We'll have to be close to it, yeah", he said.

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"Kieran just rolled his ankle a little bit". He's a loss for a lot of teams in the world and he'll be a loss for us this week.

"I obviously stayed in touch with Conor a lot over the injury to see how he has been getting on, and all the time (he's been) improving, but I suppose he's just trying to make sure he can get it right from now, and (it) not be an issue going forward", Sexton said of his long-time halves partner. I couldn't even tell you.

The rivalry between the sides has intensified in recent years with Schmidt's side no longer considered plucky underdogs as he has helped shape them into a northern hemisphere powerhouse in the last half a decade. "They're competitors and Conor Murray is a real competitor, so if he says he's right to play, he'll be right to play".

But the IRFU confirmed on Monday that Murray, who was omitted from reigning Six Nations champions Ireland's original November internationals squad, would not feature at all this month.

"It's one and two, so whoever wins will be the best side in the world".

"Yeah, Robbie has been a big part of the team over the last number of years", said Sexton. We saw a bit of that character yesterday (Saturday), going down 15-0 and then coming back.

"We try to play by the letter of the law but for whatever reason in certain games we haven't got that right with him".

"It will really be Conor's call, so I can't answer that until I've chatted to him".

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