Ireland are losing troops at a worrying rate ahead of a match to determine the world's best but All Blacks captain Kieran Read still believes his side needs to produce their finest performance of the season to defeat the Six Nations champions on home soil.

Dan Leavy is the latest Irish casualty, joining Lions flanker Sean O'Brien, who broke his arm last week against Argentina, midfielder Robbie Henshaw and influential halfback Conor Murray on the sideline.

Leavy did not train on Thursday and his absence - due to apparent "general tightness" - forces Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to call up his third-choice openside in Leinster's Josh van der Flier, with Ulster's Jordi Murphy coming onto the bench.

Regardless of Ireland's growing injury ward, Read knows his men need to significantly improve on last week's shaky 16-15 win at Twickenham to prevent Ireland claiming their first win over the All Blacks on home soil.


"We're going to need the best performance of our season the way the Irish have been playing," Read said. "I know we've prepared as well as we can so we'll give it our all.

"The Irish are undoubtedly the best side up here at the moment and for us to challenge ourselves in their conditions is an exciting time."

Schmidt predicted another "spiky" encounter with the All Blacks after their last encounter two years ago in Dublin produced two yellow cards and a physically brutal test match where both sides crossed the line of laws.

Read said patience on attack and discipline would be important but didn't shy away from the need to again dominate the collisions.

"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of emotion, a lot of heat out here, which is what you want to see when two big teams come up against each other. Physicality and intensity wins test matches so we're going to have to be right up there in that area."

Five Irish starters return from Chicago where Schmidt's side etched their names in history with their nation's first win over the All Blacks in 111 years.

Despite missing several first-choice players, Ireland captain Rory Best feels his men are well placed to repeat those efforts.

"The big monkey for us was to get that win two years ago," Best said.


"Until we got that last try it didn't really sink in. When you achieve something that is history, that no other side has ever done, it is special.

"It was a fantastic performance. When you take a second to think about all the world-class players that have played for Ireland and never achieved what the 23 in Chicago did that's when you get the goosebumps and realise how big of an achievement it was.

"I think we have improved since then.

"For us we feel when we perform we can beat anyone. We have a pretty good record here it's a place we love playing. We know the atmosphere is going to be big; it's going to be electric.

"We've been trying to distance ourselves but it's been hard to get away from the past four, six months. This is all anyone has wanted to talk about and it's finally here. Last Saturday night, early Sunday morning, you could finally talk about this game because it was our next game."