Can Ireland build momentum at home against the home-grown talents of Argentina, led by flanker Pablo Matera?
Autumn Internationals Ireland v Argentina Preview
Fresh from the 54-7 demolition of Italy in Chicago last week, Joe Schmidt’s Ireland name a much-changed side to take on the Argentines back on home shores.
The Pumas – whose squad all play for the Jaguares in Super Rugby or for Argentine clubs – play their first Test since losing to Australia 45-34 in the final round of the Rugby Championship.
The two sides have not met since playing at the Aviva in last year’s November Tests – a showdown Ireland triumphed in, 28-19.
What’s the big team news?
There’s still no Conor Murray for Ireland, so the scrum-half berth is filled by Kieron Marmion, with Luke McGrath on the bench. However, with Rob Kearney unavailable, hat-trick hero from Chicago, Jordan Larmour, is allowed to keep his starting spot at full-back.
Garry Ringrose is also out with a hip complaint so Bundee Aki also retains his spot, lining up in the centre with Robbie Henshaw. However, Tadhg Beirne is not included in the squad, despite his two-try heroics against Italy. Instead, Iain Henderson and James Ryan pack down as locks, with Devin Toner on the bench.
Rory Best’s return to hooker to captain the side is a welcome boon, while Sean O’Brien starts in the back-row, his first appearance for Ireland since playing Argentina last November.
While Ireland welcome a familiar captain at hooker, but while Agustin Creevy retains his spot at two, it is back-rower Pablo Matera who will lead the side.
Pumas boss Mario Ledesma has rolled the dice by picking lock Guido Petti in the back row, while Santiago Medrano comes in fat prop for only his second cap. Wing Bautista Delguy and nine Tomas Cubelli earn recalls.
What have they said?
Talking about firestarter 15 Jordan Larmour, Joe Schmidt said: “It’s very much a step up but he’s given us confidence on the back of some pretty big Test matches where he’s come into the game late.
“Obviously in Twickenham he came on in the midfield and did a really good job, he came on in the third Test particularly against Australia and did a great job coming in at full-back and he acquitted himself really well last week both at full-back and then when he shifted to the left wing.
“So he has that versatility, that enthusiasm. He’s a ball of energy from back there and that get’s other people energised and hopefully we can maintain that throughout the game and give Jordan some more confidence in what is building to be a really positive introduction to Test rugby so far.”
Argentina skipper explained how he felt to lead the side, saying before the tour: “This year I was captain of Jaguars and from that moment I looked to take advantage of that place to learn everything I could from Agustín who is a player who transmits a lot and has a lot of experience. “When Mario informed me of his decision to appoint me captain, I started a round trip with Agus and the only thing I received was a constant support from him. “He is very clear that the the team is more important than everything. He behaved like a gentleman. From the first day he sought to help.”
Any interesting statistics?
- Argentina boss has won a third of his matches since taking the job, winning two from six.
- Eight of the Pumas starting XV played in the loss to Ireland last November.
- On his way to scoring a hat-trick, Jordan Larmour beat 12 defenders, made four clean breaks and made 249m with ball in hand against Italy last week.
- These two nations have met 17 times before, with Ireland winning 11 and Argentina winning 6. The most tries Ireland have ever scored against the Pumas is 7.
- You can get odds of 40/1 for a draw in this fixture.
What time does it kick off and is it on TV?
Saturday 10 November, Ireland v Argentina, Aviva Stadium
The Test gets underway at 6.30pm (3.30am on Saturday in Buenos Aires) and is being broadcast live on Channel 4 in the UK and RTÉ in Ireland.
Who’s the referee?
Nic Berry will whistle this one. Fellow Aussie Angus Gardner – the man in the middle of the Owen Farrell controversy – is an assistant, alongside Ludovic Ayre from France. England’s David Grashoff is the TMO.
What are the line-ups?
Ireland: Jordan Larmour; Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Jonny Sexton, Kieran Marmion; Cian Healy, Rory Best (captain), Tadhg Furlong; Iain Henderson, James Ryan; Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Andrew Conway.
Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli; Bautista Delguy, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano; Nicolas Sanchez, Tomas Cubelli; Santiago Garcia Botta, Agustin Creevy, Santiago Medrano; Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lavanini, Pablo Matera (captain), Guido Petti, Javier Ortega Desio.
Replacements: Julian Montoya, Juan Pablo Zeiss, Lucio Sordoni, Rodrigo Bruni (San Luis), Tomas Lezana, Gonzalo Bertranou, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Matias Moroni.
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