Murray and Henshaw out of All Blacks Test

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen 'convinced' Conor Murray will return to Ireland XV ahead of Test with All Blacks

'Whoever wins will be the best in the world' – All Blacks v Ireland will decide rugby's top dog, says Steve Hansen

Conor Murray has been ruled out of Ireland's autumn Test against New Zealand on Saturday.

Henshaw was named as a starter for the Argentina clash but had to pull out after suffering a hamstring injury in the warm-up.

Murray hasn't played since June due to a neck injury but, on arrival in Dublin, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confidently predicted the world-class No 9 would make a shock return.

Sexton, who along with Murray was pivotal in the Irish securing last season's Six Nations Grand Slam, backed whoever from Kieran Marmion or his Leinster team-mate Luke McGrath started at scrum-half.

"Robbie's been a big part of the team over the last number of years and has bounced back from a number of injuries [shoulder and knee]", Sexton said before Irish training in Dublin. "But the guys that are available will do a great job I'm sure". Hopefully, we'll see him back soon, I'm not sure how soon but obviously a quality player, we'd hope to have him back...

That record will be something he will be keen to improve upon and he makes no secret of how you can not treat the world champions just like any other game. "Everyone seems to find another 10 percent when they play us because it is a good story if you can beat the All Blacks and everyone gets excited by that".

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The 33-year-old flyhalf - who orchestrated Ireland's historic victory over the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016 - believes if they seized their chance they could claim they are the number one team in the world.

"They'll be better for that experience as well". "I just think he is a real competitor, he will want to play and if he's got the chance I'm picking he will want to play".

Sexton admits Ireland will need to step things up a few gears across all departments in the coming days.

"He'd be a loss for a lot of teams in the world and he'll be a loss for us this week".

"It's been a big change from our point of view, but we are looking forward to seeing how far we have come in the last two years and where we are in the world".

"They have all been tough, close games. There were bits we didn't get ideal but to win against Argentina having had two sessions together, we'll take some positives and some good learnings".

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