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GUINNESS Series Preview: Ireland v Argentina

GUINNESS Series Preview: Ireland v Argentina

Felipe Contepomi and Mariano Galarza, two Leinster players of past and present, will line out for Argentina as Ireland try to beat the Pumas and end the 2010 GUINNESS Series on a high at the Aviva Stadium.

2010 GUINNESS SERIES TEST MATCH: Sunday, November 28

IRELAND v ARGENTINA, Aviva Stadium, 2.30pm (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 shows five changes to the starting line-up from last Saturday’s clash with New Zealand.

Ireland head coach Declan Kidney has made five changes in personnel, the first of which sees Geordan Murphy returning at full-back in place of the injured Rob Kearney.

Andrew Trimble earns a recall on the left wing, taking over from the injured Luke Fitzgerald, while Peter Stringer will win his 95th cap at scrum half in the final switch in the back-line.

There are two changes to the front row with Sean Cronin taking over from the sidelined Rory Best and Tony Buckley, who missed the last two games due to a hip injury, has been selected at tighthead prop in place of Tom Court, who reverts to the replacements.

Hooker Damien Varley has made his first home matchday squad, having won his first cap as a replacement against Australia during the summer tour last June.

Centre Brian O’Driscoll will captain Ireland for the 70th time this weekend. His record as skipper reads: played 69, won 45, drawn 1 and lost 23.

Previewing Sunday’s encounter at the Aviva Stadium, O’Driscoll said: “It’s a special fixture because we’ve built up quite a lot of history together over the last 10 years or so.

“It’s not quite become a diary game, but not far off it. We’ve played Argentina at the last three World Cups. We’ve lost twice and won once.

“They’re always very tight, hard and physical games. When you play against Argentina it’s real, honest Test rugby. We both respect one another, but we both want to win badly and that’s why it’s become a special fixture.”

He added: “If you look at our previous matches against them they tend not to be things of beauty. Argentina make it difficult for you and that’s part of their gameplan, trying to stop you having possession.

“I’m not speaking ill of them by saying they try to turn it into a dogfight because that plays to their strengths. They have a big, strong pack. They’re huge, huge men and it will be the same this weekend.

“We must vary our game to keep them guessing. You can’t take them on at their strengths, you must move the ball around.”

Meanwhile, Argentina head coach Santiago Phelan has made three changes, two of them in the backs, for this weekend’s showdown with Ireland.

Leicester Tigers clubman Horacio Agulla returns on the right wing, after missing Argentina’s tour outings against Italy and France.

Agulla takes the number 14 jersey from Gonzalo Camacho, while there is also a change at inside centre where Biarritz’s Marcelo Bosch replaces Santiago Fernandez, who filled the out-half berth when the Pumas lost 17-3 at Croke Park in November 2008.

The final alteration to the Pumas side that lost 15-9 to France in Montpellier sees flanker Julio Farias Cabello, a Test debutant against the French, come in for his first start at the expense of Miguel De Achaval.

Cabello is one of two Argentinian-based players in the starting line-ups, the other being flanker Gernaro Fessia from Cordoba.

Former Leinster out-half Felipe Contepomi captains the tourists from out-half, with the province’s summer signing, Mariano Galarza, a notable inclusion in the second row.

Prop Juan Figallo and winger Lucas Borges have been added to the replacements as Phelan’s charges look to secure Argentina’s fourth win over Ireland in their last five meetings.

Previewing this weekend’s game, Pumas centre Gonzalo Tiesi said: “We have built up a rivalry with Ireland but we have the same against France – maybe it’s because they’re teams we’ve played a lot in the last few years.

“Every time we see each other again maybe we are thinking about the last time or what’s going to happen in the future.

“I played against Irish players several times, in the Heineken Cup quarter-final (Harlequins v Leinster) and when I was with London Irish, so I know them pretty well.

“A lot of the players have been playing at this level for a long time now. But they have brought in young players like (Stephen) Ferris and Rob Kearney. They have been playing for three or four years but they are still young.”

IRELAND: Geordan Murphy; Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll (capt), Gordon D’Arcy, Andrew Trimble; Jonathan Sexton, Peter Stringer; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Tony Buckley, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Stephen Ferris, David Wallace, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Damien Varley, Tom Court, Devin Toner, Denis Leamy, Eoin Reddan, Ronan O’Gara, Keith Earls.

ARGENTINA: Martin Rodriguez; Horacio Agulla, Gonzalo Tiesi, Marcelo Bosch, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino; Felipe Contepomi (capt), Nicolas Vergallo; Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma, Martin Scelzo, Mariano Galarza, Patricio Albacete, Genaro Fessia, Julio Farias Cabello, Juan Fernandez Lobbe.

Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Marcos Ayerza, Juan Figallo, Santiago Guzman, Alvaro Galindo, Alfredo Lalanne, Lucas Borges.

Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Stuart Terheege (England)
Television Match Official: Daniel Gillet (France)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland to win: 4/11; Draw: 22/1; Argentina to win: 9/4

Pre-Match Quotes: Declan Kidney (Ireland) – “We are trying to develop our own way of playing and I think we are well on the route to that. Part of that way of playing is, in Ireland we have certain resources and one of those is that we have to be smart in the way that we approach every game.

“A basic thing, like New Zealand gave you the outside shoulder to attack, Argentina don’t. They’re inclined to flood the midfield so why go to a place where the opposition are defending strongly?

“Fellas have to decide what to do out on the pitch, part of the gameplan is the trust we have in fellas to be good decision makers, that’s what we’re working towards.

“(Jonathan Sexton and Peter Stringer) haven’t started together before. They played 15 minutes together last week and I thought it went okay.

“Peter’s a good guy for clearing the ruck area, and always presents the ball properly. Jonathan’s been going okay and that’s why he gets another go.

“It’s a little bit of the unknown. It’s a combination that we haven’t started before and now’s the time to see it.

“Argentina are hugely powerful up front. If they’re not the best scrummaging unit in the world, they’re in the top group.

“They’ve picked five forwards and two backs on the bench so it’s no secret what area they’ll have a go at us.

“But with (Felipe) Contepomi at out-half they can play in various ways, going wide or kicking. They’re not just physical, they’re skilful too.

“They’re good at carrying the ball and retaining possession for long periods of time.”

Gonzalo Tiesi (Argentina) – “We have built up a rivalry with Ireland but we have the same against France, maybe because they’re teams we’ve played a lot in the last few years.

“Every time we see each other again maybe we are thinking about the last time or what’s going to happen in the future.

“But we are just focused on Sunday. We are finishing the tour, we are building up our game and that’s what we need to focus on.

“Maybe our game is not – how would you say – good to look at, or entertaining. But it is effective.

“We have a style of game that’s maybe hard to play against. We don’t have the best effect with the ball in hand but we work hard in defence, we try to slow the ball up.

“Maybe we play in a way that Ireland aren’t used to when they play in the Six Nations. We know our strengths and we know our limitations, and we try to play our game. Sometimes, I think, it is hard for them to play against Argentina.

“Over the last five to seven games the teams have played, you can see the respect they have for one another; we have beaten each other a few times but we haven’t beaten Ireland since I’ve been in the team.

“Every time we’ve played here in Ireland we’ve lost the game. They’re always very tough games. But I think focusing on the games in the past is not the right thing to do.

“We’re both thinking about the World Cup. We have to focus on what’s going on today, what are our strengths.

“We’re looking at Ireland very carefully, they played a very good game against New Zealand even though they lost. They are looking sharp with the ball and in defence, so I think it’s going to be a very tough encounter.”

Pre-Match Links –

Irish Rugby TV: Brian O’Driscoll

Sexton Partnership Is Exciting – Stringer

Kidney Primes Players For Final Test

Huge Honour To Get Test Start – Murphy

Head-To-Head: Ireland v Argentina

Recent Meetings –

Saturday, November 27, 2004 – Autumn Test – Ireland 21 Argentina 19, Lansdowne Road
Saturday, May 26, 2007 – Summer Tour – Argentina 22 Ireland 20, Club Atletico Colon
Saturday, June 2, 2007 – Summer Tour – Argentina 16 Ireland 0, Velez Sarsfield
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

Ireland v Argentina: IRFU Stats Vault

Related Links –

Click here to get Jonathan Sexton at 5/1 to win the man-of-the-match award and a free €;20 bet, courtesy of Paddy Power Bookmakers