Joe Schmidt likely to rely on ’tried and tested’ for Pumas clash

Ireland head-coach Joe Schmidt will reveal his starting 15 to face Argentina in Saturday’s final Autumn international this lunchtime.

After giving fringe players a chance in last weekend’s victory against Fiji, Schmidt looks set to return to his tried and tested players for the visit of the Pumas to the Aviva Stadium.

Adam Byrne is reportedly in line to make his debut - though it might be from the bench if Andrew Conway gets picked on the wing.

Rob Kearney is likely to be selected at full-back with Jacob Stockdale completing the back three.

Rugby legend and Irish Examiner columnist has predicted a tough clash but dismissed suggestions that the game against Argentina would descend into a revenge mission after what happened the last time the two sides met.

He wrote: "To suggest that a win next weekend would in some way erase the memory of that fateful, 2015 World Cup quarter-final defeat at the Millennium Stadium, is daft.

"World Cups have come to define eras and our painful exit at the hands of the Pumas in Cardiff that day marked the end of the international career of the great Paul O’Connell.

"It would have irked the big man even more that he never even got to play that day. His horrific hamstring tear off the bone against France the previous week, which also ended a potentially lucrative and educational move to Toulon, saw to that.

"Others to crucially miss out that day, Johnny Sexton, Peter O’Mahony and Sean O’Brien will all get the opportunity to start on Saturday but I don’t expect for a moment that a win at the Aviva Stadium will make up one iota for the disappointment of having to watch that knockout contest from the sidelines two years ago.

"Ireland’s failure to deal with the physical challenge up front and the running threat posed out wide by Argentina that day has proved a driving force for everything Schmidt has done with his squad since.

"It played a role in the decision to make 13 changes to his side for that Fijian encounter as the lessons from that chastening experience are still being absorbed."

Read his full column here


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