We review the Irish team selection to play Argentina and the views from both camps ahead of Saturdays game. Click here for more details.
Irish Coach Eddie O’Sullivan has recalled Leinster trio Girvan Dempsey, Shane Horgan, Denis Hickie and Munster duo Ronan O’Gara and Peter Stringer – with Geordan Murphy switching to the right wing – in the backs.
Up front Leinster’s Reggie Corrigan, Shane Byrne and Malcolm O’Kelly – set for his 68th cap, just one short of Mike Gibson’s Irish record – return to bolster a pack also containing the Scarlets’ Simon Easterby and Munster skipper Anthony Foley at number 8 with openside Johnny O’Connor also returning to the team.
All-in-all, Ireland will start with ten of the side who handed the Pumas an agonising 16-15 World Cup Pool defeat in Adelaide, 13 months ago – with try scorer Alan Quinlan among the absentees.
As well as O’Connor, half-back reserves Guy Easterby (knee) and David Humphreys (groin), and 50-cap scrum-half Stringer (back) have slight niggles, but are expected to be fit for Ireland’s fifth meeting in five years with the Argentines.
No more than nine points has separated the sides since 1999, and O’Sullivan knows the South Americans will provide stern opposition.
“Argentina are right up there with South Africa in terms of the challenge they offer. We always understood that and knew they would not be an easy side to play against,” he said.
“We’ve played them in wet and dry conditions over the last two years and they were very difficult games. They’ve proved they can mix it with any side in any conditions. The fact they’ve been knocking off the big boys for a while proves that.”
Marcelo Loffreda’s side – still buoyant following their 24-14 humbling of France last weekend – arrived in Dublin on Monday and take part in their first training session at Wanderers RFC this morning, before naming their starting XV tomorrow (Thursday).
New centre Federico Martin Aramburu, 24, with four tries in his first 6 caps, reckons the weather will play its part on Saturday.
“Ireland are going to be very hard to beat,” said the Biarritz clubman. “Especially if you add in the rain – which they are used to playing in. We have plenty of videos to run through on them, so we will be prepared for a tough game and looking for another good result.”
The weather played its part when the sides last met in Dublin two years ago – as heavy rain saw Ireland, thanks to full back Dempsey’s try, cling on for a 16-7 win – their sixth one on the trot, marking their best run since the 1960s.
15 Girvan Dempsey (Leinster – Terenure College)
14 Geordan Murphy (Leicester)
13 Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster – Blackrock College) Captain
12 Shane Horgan (Leinster – Lansdowne)
11 Denis Hickie (Leinster – St. Mary’s College)
10 Ronan O’Gara (Munster – Cork Constitution)
9 Peter Stringer (Munster – Shannon)
1 Reggie Corrigan (Leinster – Greystones)
2 Shane Byrne (Leinster – Blackrock College)
3 John Hayes (Munster – Bruff)
4 Malcolm O’Kelly (Leinster – St. Mary’s College)
5 Paul O’Connell (Munster – Young Munster)
6 Simon Easterby (Llanelli)
7 Johnny O’Connor (Wasps)
8 Anthony Foley (Munster – Shannon)
Replacements: 16 Frankie Sheahan (Munster – Cork Constitution), 17 Marcus Horan (Munster – Shannon), 18 Donnacha O’Callaghan (Munster – Cork Constitution), 19 Eric Miller (Leinster – Terenure College), 20 Guy Easterby (Leinster – Blackrock College), 21 David Humphreys (Ulster – Dungannon), 22 Kevin Maggs (Ulster – Belfast Harlequins).
Patricio Albacete (Pau, France), Rimas Alvarez (Perpignan, France), Miguel Avramovic (Asociacisn Alumni), Lucas Borges (Pucara), Pablo Bouza (Duendes), Felipe Contepomi (Leinster, Ireland), Manuel Contepomi (Newman), Martmn Durand (Montpellier, France), Juan de la Cruz Fernandez Miranda (Hindz), Nicolas Fernandez Miranda (Hindz), Pablo Gomez Cora (Lomas), Eusebio Guiqazu (Mendoza), Omar Hasan (Toulouse, France), Juan Martin Hernandez (Stade Frangais, France), Mario Ledesma (Castres, France), Gonzalo Longo (Montferrand, France), Federico Martmn Aramburu (Biarritz, France), Federico Mendez (Mendoza), Lucas Ostiglia (Padova, Italy), Augusto Petrilli (Bourgoin, France), Agustmn Pichot (Stade Frangais, France), Daniel Rodriguez (Brive, France), Rodrigo Roncero (Stade Frangais, France), Martmn Schusterman (Plymouth Albion, England), Hernan Senillosa (Montferrand, France), Gonzalo Pedro Tiesi (SIC).