10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The cost of such a physical series of matches has taken its toll on Declan Kidney's options, but with places up for grabs in future Six Nations and World Cup squads, we can expect a typically vigorous performance from the players selected.
Some of rugby's rivalries seem to pre-date the moment dogs decided they did not much like cats, but for others you do not need to dig too deep to get a view of its roots.
Meetings of Ireland and Argentina fall into the latter category. It was as late as 1990 when Ireland first crossed paths with the Pumas at Test level, but an almost metronomic sequence of clashes since has seen it become one of the most-contested games in world rugby.
In their two decades of rivalry, there is little to separate the two sides, with Ireland claiming six wins to the visitors' five.
There is rarely many points between the two sides when the final whistle is blown and Paddy Power, official bookmakers of the IRFU, are expecting a similarly close encounter on this occasion.
They have chalked up Ireland as 1/3 favourites to finish the year with a win, whilst the 11/5 for Argentina to triumph is sure to tempt people beyond those loyal to los Pumas.
The notion of Argentina being a bunch of bruisers does them a disservice. They certainly do not shy away from the physical aspects of the game, but over the course of the rivalry, it is noticeable how they have expanded their repetoire to feature some skilful and exciting play.
Last weekend, Santiago Phelan's men coped admirably with the attacking force of France whilst still maintaining a threat of their own.
The last time Argentina came to Dublin, Ireland produced a disciplined performance to notch up a 14-point victory. The Pumas have enjoyed plenty of success against Ireland, but curiously, not yet on Irish soil and with this in mind Ireland -7 points at 10/11 is a good bet.
With the mercury highly unlikely to trouble the double digits of the celsius scale, conditions will be particularly difficult for the visitors.
On the alternative handicap list, the Ireland -16 points @ 23/10 stands out. On a similar theme, the alternative winning margins merit closer inspection. Ireland to win by 11-20 points @ 7/2 covers both the possibility of a hard-fought victory and something more comprehensive.
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