Ireland struggle to put down Pumas 28-17

Jordan Larmour and Sean O'Brien will both start for Ireland against Argentina

Former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll has outlined the danger that a strong Argentinian can pose ahead of their clash with Joe Schmidt's side at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Jonathan Sexton during Ireland rugby squad training at Carton House in Maynooth Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt.

However Ireland improved to look far more like the team that had won 15 of their last 16 tests, and a try from replacement scrum-half Luke McGrath, following a decisive lineout steal, gave them some breathing space for the first time.

Along with out-half Nicolas Sanchez, Argentina offer much in attack, though defensively they are vulnerable and, up front, nowhere near as formidable as used to be traditionally the case.

In a quarter-final play off in the 1999 World Cup they beat Ireland by four points to qualify, fast forward to 2007 and Ireland needed a big result against the Pumas to qualify for the quarter-finals.

"There's lots to work on".

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So late that an IRFU official had to make the change in black pen, Robbie Henshaw's name was struck from the Ireland team to face Argentina with only minutes to go before kick-off.

Schmidt, whose side began the November Tests with a 54-7 thumping of Italy, said Argentina would prove challenging in many respects.

Meanwhile, captain Rory Best made his first worldwide appearance since the Six Nations earlier this year and is now targeting an historic victory over the All Blacks - although appreciates improvements will have to be forthcoming. They'd topped their World Cup group and with England dumped out things couldn't be going better. "There were a couple of times when the game was in the balance and we just had enough character and we got together and we made the most of the few chances that we got". I just want them to run harder so they can keep their distance.

"With the national team he has already compiled some good success and certainly he has the confidence of the players".

Argentina, ranked ninth in the world, have rarely lacked team spirit but the questionable rewards for selecting from players based at home - and playing Super Rugby for the Jaguares who Ledesma coached before his Pumas role - are potentially baring fruit through the obvious continuity of selection, although the policy of ignoring overseas players has been relaxed.


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