Planet Rugby

Preview: Ireland v Argentina

22nd November 2012 20:05

Share:

ireland argentina gordon darcy

Veteran: Gordon D'Arcy

The world's sixth and seventh best sides will face off in Dublin on Saturday as Ireland host Argentina in the latest November International.

Expectations have been at a minimum for Ireland this November. The reasoning behind this is a remarkable injury list that has denied Declan Kidney of some of his finest talents, including Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell and Stephen Ferris.

That being said, November was largely been a positive month for Ireland. Their opening match against South Africa saw them take a surprising 12-3 first-half lead into the break, but a crucial missed penalty from Jonathan Sexton stuttered their rhythm, paving the way for a resounding second-half comeback from the Springboks.

Naturally the result was a disappointment considering the lead Ireland held at the interval, but the way they controlled the first-half in all areas given their depleted squad was encouraging.

Those positive vibes were backed up in a convincing but ultimately meaningless 53-0 hammering of Fiji at Thomond Park. A look to the future for Declan Kidney saw Craig Gilroy, Iain Henderson and many more impress during the rout, with Gilroy doing enough to win a first start for his country in a Test on Saturday against Argentina.

Having thundered past Fiji and surpassed expectations against South Africa, gauging how Ireland should fare against the Pumas is up for debate. Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip appears to be finding his form again after a significant dip and the spotlight will be on him against Argentina to inspire what in certain areas is an unfamiliar Ireland side.

Substantial injuries technically offer Ireland an excuse but there will be a strong sentiment of unfinished business after letting that nine point lead slip against South Africa. By defeating Argentina, Ireland will pick up valuable momentum ahead of the Six Nations and finish November on a high.

As for Argentina, November has been a month that when we look back on their long-term development will not be forgotten.

Their success against Wales in Cardiff was not down to fortuitous circumstances as might have been argued in the past, but total dominance. Two world-class finishes from Juan Imhoff and Gonzalo Camacho provided the tries and the development of Nicolas Sánchez continued as he slotted drop goals and freed his backs.

Where the Pumas remain dominant however is in the pack. The retirement of Rodrigo Roncero and Mario Ledesma has been made easier by Marcos Ayerza and Eusebio Guinazu, whilst Juan Figallo continues to develop into one of the world's finest tightheads.

The quality only improves in the back-row - Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe just getting better with age and ably assisted by Juan Manuel Leguizamon and Leonardo Senatore. The combination of precision and power in that back-row is a test for any Test side as Wales will testify, giving the youthful Irish duo of Peter O'Mahony and Chris Henry plenty to ponder ahead of Saturday's clash.

Aspects of Argentina's game against France last weekend were positive, but the result will have stung after making ground against Wales the week before. Make no mistake - the Pumas are hungry.

Ones to watch:

For Ireland: Hard to ignore last week's hat-trick hero, Craig Gilroy. Only 21 years of age, Gilroy has spent the last two seasons impressing on the wing for Ulster in both the PRO12 and Heineken Cup and now gets his chance at senior level. Blessed with sharp feet and blistering pace, Gilroy proved how clinical he can be through each of his three scores against Fiji last weekend and offers Ireland another potent attacking option in the back-three alongside Simon Zebo and Tommy Bowe.

For Argentina: Marking his return to the Test side with a try last weekend in France, Marcelo Bosch offers the Pumas a dangerous attacking option in midfield through both his power and slight of hand. Starting at the expense of Gonzalo Tiesi, Bosch will look to give Gordon D'Arcy and Keith Earls plenty to worry about in midfield in order to free up for Argentina's dangerous marksmen out wide.

Head-to-head: Two influential figures at the base of the scrum, Jamie Heaslip and Leonardo Senatore. The Ireland captain was outstanding between 2009-2011 but has struggled for form this season both domestically and with the national side, failing to make the clean breaks that have become his trademark. On the rise once more, a second Lions tour looms for Heaslip who knows that every performance counts ahead of selection. 28-year old Senatore will go toe-to-toe with Heaslip all afternoon in Dublin, with the former Toulon flanker eager to make a big impression on the international stage.

Recent results:
2010: Ireland won 29-9 in Dublin
2008: Ireland won 17-3 in Dublin
2007: Argentina won 30-15 in Paris
2007: Argentina won 16-0 in Buenos Aires
2007: Argentina won 22-20 in Santa Fe
2004: Ireland won 21-19 in Dublin
2003: Ireland won 16-15 in Adelaide
2002: Ireland won 16-7 in Dublin
2000: Argentina won 34-23 in Buenos Aires

Prediction: Provided the weather holds out this could be the pick of the weekend's fixtures. Two evenly matched teams with clinical finishers out wide but as always, it is all about the platform. Fernandez Lobbe and his allies have the ability to dominate the breakdown, but Ireland's all-Leinster front row can control the game at the scrum. Execution from Sexton and Sanchez will be essential. Ireland by five.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Ireland: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Donncha O'Callaghan, 20 Iain Henderson, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ronan O'Gara, 23 Fergus McFadden.

Argentina: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Julio Farias Cabello, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19 Tomas Vallejos, 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Nicolas Vergallo, 22 Gonzalo Tiesi, 23 Manuel Montero.

Date: Saturday, November 24
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Andrew Small (England)
Television match official: Geoff Warren (England)

by Ben Coles
@bencoles_

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Bath vs ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs ConnachtExeter vs Connacht Preview
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Preview
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615