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GUINNESS Series Preview: Ireland v Argentina

GUINNESS Series Preview: Ireland v Argentina

Argentina stand between Ireland and a winning finish to the calendar year, a result which will guarantee their place in the second band of seeds for the upcoming Rugby World Cup pool allocation draw. The victorious side on Saturday will also lift the Admiral Brown Cup for the first time.

2012 GUINNESS SERIES MATCH: Saturday, November 24

IRELAND v ARGENTINA, Aviva Stadium, 2pm (live RTÉ Two/BBC Two)

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Team News: The Ireland team to play Argentina in the final game of the GUINNESS Series has been named. The selected side contains one new cap in the 21-year-old Craig Gilroy.

The Ulster winger comes in to win his first full cap on the left wing after impressing in last Saturday’s non-cap international against Fiji at Thomond Park.

Gilroy will team up in a back-three that includes Simon Zebo at full-back, winning his third cap, and the 50-times capped Tommy Bowe on the right wing.

Gordon D’Arcy and Keith Earls will continue their centre partnership, while Jonathan Sexton has recovered from the tight groin he suffered in the warm-up for the Fiji game and starts once more in the number 10 jersey.

Sexton, who is now fifth on the list of Ireland’s record points scorers, is just two points off notching up 250 Test points for his country.

The forwards selection is the same that lined out for the opening game of the GUINNESS Series against South Africa, with Richardt Strauss winning his second full cap in the front row.

Among the replacements, second row Donncha O’Callaghan could make his 90th appearance for his country if he is called into action.

The team will be captained by number 8 Jamie Heaslip for the third consecutive game in this month’s Series.

Meanwhile, Argentina head coach Santiago Phelan has made four changes in personnel for this weekend’s eagerly-awaited showdown with Ireland.

The Pumas arrived in Dublin on the back of a 39-22 defeat to France in Lille, and will be looking to recapture the form which saw them overcome Wales at the start of their European tour.

Juan Martin Hernandez, the most experienced of the backs with 38 caps, returns at full-back having missed the French game with a thigh strain.

The Exeter-based Gonzalo Camacho also slots in on the right wing, replacing the sidelined Horacio Agulla, with Santiago Fernandez joining Marcelo Bosch in the centre.

Argentina’s only change in the forwards sees Montpellier’s Maximiliano Bustos drafted in for his Test debut at tighthead prop. The tourists will be captained once more by 51-times capped flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

IRELAND: Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster); Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster), Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster); Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster); Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster), Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster), Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster) (capt).

Replacements: Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster), Michael Bent (Leinster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster).

ARGENTINA: Juan Martin Hernandez (Racing Metro 92); Gonzalo Camacho (Exeter Chiefs), Marcelo Bosch (Biarritz Olympique), Santiago Fernandez (Montpellier), Juan Imhoff (Racing Metro 92); Nicolas Sanchez (Bordeaux Begles), Martin Landajo (CASI); Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers), Eusebio Guinazu (Unattached), Maximiliano Bustos (Montpellier), Manuel Carizza (Jockey Club Rosario), Julio Farias Cabello (Tucuman), Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Toulon) (capt), Juan Manuel Leguizamon (Lyon), Leonardo Senatore (Gimnasia Rosario).

Replacements: Agustin Creevy (Montpellier), Nahuel Lobo (Montpellier), Francisco Gomez Kodela (Biarritz Olympique), Tomas Vallejos (Scarlets), Tomas Leonardi (SIC), Nicolas Vergallo (Toulouse), Gonzalo Tiesi (SIC), Manuel Montero (Pucara).

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite (France), Andrew Small (England)
Television Match Official: Geoff Warren (England)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland to win: 4/9; Draw: 25/1; Argentina to win: 15/8

Pre-Match Quotes: Declan Kidney (Ireland) – “Play for the 80 minutes. We probably got a good 40 there (against South Africa). We didn’t back it up then with another good 40.

“We probably got a good 60 against Fiji. Against Argentina we’re probably going to need to play eight good 10-minute blocks because if you drop off in any of them you’ll get seven, 10, 13 points against you and they’re a hard team to claw that back.

“We know they’re going to pick off scores, they’re so proficient in drop goals. You can see six points coming that way and if they get a couple of penalty that’s 12 and you’re chasing the game too early.

“So, we have to build up our experience levels very quickly and that’s not an easy thing to do, but I can’t fault these guys for the way they’ve gone about their work. They’ve gone about it really well and that’s all we can ask of a team.

“We’re fully aware of what the consequences are in terms of rankings and going forward and things like that, but we can’t do anything about that now.

“We’ve arrived in this situation probably because of the warm-up matches for the last World Cup, where we slipped from fourth to eighth. That’s why we find ourselves in this situation.

“But the lads have trained as diligently as any bunch I’ve had and we’re up against a hugely experienced side and that’s the only thing we can focus on.”

Juan Martin Hernandez (Argentina) – “When I was younger I was watching the Tri Nations and was thinking we could never play this rugby. But now we are and it’s a different style we are playing.

“As soon as we were involved in the Rugby Championship, the coaches knew an evolution had to happen in our rugby with a lot of technical work, especially with Graham Henry who helped us change our style.

“Now we are playing better. We are making some mistakes because we are discovering this style, this high level rugby, but we are learning.

“We are doing a good job developing new players, so the Rugby Championship is very useful for us – players can have competition year after year. All the games were very intense and that can only be good for a country.

“Before that I was out for three years almost, with two big surgeries, but to come back to this now…I’m enjoying every second, every game, every training session.

“It was lonely, there was a lot of time in hospital but it happens. I was very sad of course and it was a hard time, watching the team on TV especially during the World Cup. But that’s the past.

“I don’t think the northern Hemisphere style is so different to what we played this year, in rugby all the games now are very intense. Worldwide rugby is getting closer, there’s not much difference, only for New Zealand who are unbeatable.

“I don’t think the Irish are short of confidence. They like to play, run the ball, so I always like to play against them.

“They have a very good rugby spirit, passing the ball and keeping it moving. But us, we want to show on Saturday what we’ve learned this year and show what we are doing now.”

Pre-Match Links –

Head-To-Head: Ireland v Argentina

Irish Rugby TV: Mike McCarthy

Irish Rugby TV: Jonathan Sexton

Spotlight On IRB World Rankings

Irlanda v Argentina: La Copa Almirante Brown

Henry: We’re Boiling Up For Big Finish

We’re In For A Right Battle – Earls

Recent Meetings –

Sunday, September 30, 2007 – Rugby World Cup Pool D – Ireland 15 Argentina 30, Parc des Princes
Saturday, November 22, 2008 – Autumn Test – Ireland 17 Argentina 3, Croke Park
Sunday, November 28, 2010 – Autumn Test – Ireland 29 Argentina 9, Aviva Stadium

Support Ireland on www.irishrugby.ie/facebook or search #IrlArg on www.twitter.com/irfurugby.