Ireland Vs Argentina

Ireland Vs Argentina

So Ireland returned to Soldier Field this weekend and defeated Italy 54-7 in the middle game of the now yearly rugby festival that takes place in the USA. Yes the opposition would not really persuade your casual rugby fan to switch on or travel to Chicago to take it in like the New Zealand fixture of two years ago.

This game was about fine tuning the planning for this November Series and also trying to give some of the less experienced players in the squad meaningful game time when there are now after this weekend only 11 more games before the 2019 World Cup.

It took Ireland until early in the second half to take control of the game and they showed true ruthlessness that will be needed to surpass the exploits of the last few World Cups where a quarter final has been the furthest Ireland have managed since the first World Cup in 1987. They scored two quick fire tries to gone from 14-7 up to 28-7 up inside the first 7 minutes of the second half. That type of ruthlessness will be needed more and more over the next 12 months.

Ireland still need sharpen up in defence and defend as a unit on occasion but some of the performances from men like Jordan Larmour who scored a hat trick of tries and Tadgh Beirne were great to see and Beirne has just gone from strength to strength since signing for Munster. Seeing the half back pairing of Luke Mc Grath and Joey Carbery gave us a glimpse of a future long term pairing maybe but of course Ross Byrne and John Cooney will have something to say about that you can be sure.

Ireland arrived back from Chicago in two groups this morning and will begin to prepare for the encounter with Argentina who are now coached by Mario Ledesma who after a spell in charge of the Argentine Super Rugby side Jaguares that yielded a semi final spot in Super Rugby at the first go meant the Argentina Rugby Union didn’t need to look too far for a replacement for Daniel Hourcade when he stepped down after the November Tests last year.

Ireland and Argentina have a history in the past 21 years beginning at the 1999 World Cup quarter final in Lens when Argentina beat Ireland and then in a group game in 2003 Ireland gained some revenge beating Argentina 16-15 to make a quarter final where they were heavily defeated 43-31 by France.

The game this weekend offers both sides the chance to step preparations for further tests this month with Ireland facing World Champions New Zealand the following weekend in a last chance to test themselves against the best before Japan 2019.

There is some chatter that Conor Murray may make a appearance against New Zealand which hasn’t been dismissed by the Ireland coaching ticket but still seems unlikely with Munster’s Pro 14 game vs Zebre at the end of November the more likely destination for the returning scrum half although he has been involved in the planning and plotting last week in Carton House with the senior group of players who didn’t travel to Chicago.

Joe Schmidt delayed his departure to Chicago until late last week to stay behind and work on some things with that senior group. His attention to detail never ceases to amaze people and that is why he has achieved so much since November 2013.

I will now try and select a team to face Argentina this weekend :

15 Jordan Larmour

14 Keith Earls

13 Gary Ringrose

12 Robbie Henshaw

11 Jacob Stockdale

10 Jonathan Sexton

9 Luke Mc Grath

8 Jack Conan

7 Josh Van Der Flier

6 Peter O Mahony

5 James Ryan

4 Tadgh Beirne

3 Tadgh Furlong

2 Sean Cronin

1 Cian Healy

16 Niall Scannell

17 Jack Mc Grath

18 Andrew Porter

19 Iain Henderson

20 CJ Stander

21 John Cooney

22 Joey Carbery

23 Will Addison

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