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
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Preview
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs ZebreMunster vs Zebre Preview
Cardiff Blues vs UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Preview
Connacht vs LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Preview
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs PumasLions vs Pumas Preview
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26