Ireland

Preview: Argentina v Ireland

Fri, 13 Jun 2014 09:10
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The mainly home-based Argentinean team does not appear to be a real threat to the powerful Six Nations champions, Ireland.

What could the Irish tourists gain from the second Test in Tucuman on Saturday? Perhaps some team building?

The Pumas, obviously, would like to improve on last week's disappointing performance - a 17-29 loss.

However, they know the men from the Emerald Isle will be looking for refinement of their own game.

Recalled wing Lucas González Amorosino admitted the home side was well off the pace and will have to take the proverbial 'quantum leap' to make a contest of the return match.

"It is always nice return to the team and have the chance to be in the starting XV," Amorosino said, adding that he believes it will be a much tougher game.

"They have three or four major players back and that will make them more motivated and focussed for this game," the wing said.

Antonio Ahualli de Chazal, one of two changes to the team, also spoke of a "tougher" challenge.

"We have been working hard on the key aspects of our game," Ahualli de Chazal said, adding: "We are determined to produced our best performance."

The Irish are fancied to win comfortably again.

However, their travelling schedule from the past fortnight might catch up to them.

There were three internal flights - toing and froing between Buenos Aires, Corrientes (for last week's Test), Buenos Aires again and Tucumán.

Coach Joe Schmidt and his management will have derived a huge amount of information and knowledge about the 29 players at their disposal.

"It's been intense," Jamie Heaslip told the The Irish Times, asked about the hectic schedule on the two-Test road-trip.

"Obviously we rolled out off the back of a pretty intense week and all the things that come with touring, travelling and staying in hotels.

"I was asked if I've seen anything and I've seen the hotel room, the training ground, hotel lobbies, which is a bit of a regret because we're in such a unique country."

Until last Saturday, the indestructible Heaslip had played 26 games, 18 for Leinster and eight for Ireland, and in every instance played the full 80 minutes.

"It's what I know," he told the newspaper.

"I just found the preparation a little bit . . . I tried to prepare the same, but it was just very different.

"From playing those 80 minutes I know how vital a role people coming off the bench have in terms of standards and not letting that standard drop."

Ireland's win last Saturday was founded on strong set-pieces, and while seeking an improvement in the speed and quality of their ruck ball.

Captain Paul O'Connell warned that the Pumas will be better prepared this time round.

"We've all played in the back-to-back European Cup games," O'Connell said.

"Very often you can have a good day in the line-out in the first game and the other team puts a lot of work into it and it's a struggle in the return match. The same with the scrum - you can have a good day with the scrum in the first day and the other team rally for the second game."

Players to watch:

For Argentina: Recalled wing Lucas González Amorosino will be hoping to see more of the ball than his teammates did last week. If he does, he could be a handful for the visitors. No.8 Antonio Ahualli de Chazal, as one of the two changes to the team, will also be in the spotlight.

For Ireland: The return of Jamie Heaslip at No.8 will be a huge boost to the Irish. He is so much of the positive energy they get up front. Devin Toner, recalled at lock, will be vital if Ireland want to dominate the set pieces again. Flyhalf Jonathan Sexton is the man that pulls the strings these days.

Head to head: The loose forward battle is likely to be intense, even brutal, and at the heart of that is the two No.8s - Antonio Ahualli de Chazal (Argentina) versus Jamie Heaslip (Ireland). There are some other interesting battles, with flyhalf and scrumhalf probably the most vital - Nicolás Sánchez and Martín Landajo (Argentina) facing off against Jonathan Sexton and Eoin Reddan (Ireland).

Recent results:
2014: Ireland won 29-17, Resistencia
2012: Ireland won 46-24, Dublin
2010: Ireland won 29-9, Dublin
2008: Ireland won 17-3, Dublin
2007: Argentina won 30-15, Paris (World Cup pool match)
2007: Argentina won 16-0, Buenos Aires
2007: Argentina won 22-20, Sante Fe
2004: Ireland won 21-19, Dublin
2003: Ireland won 16-15, Adelaide (World Cup pool match)
2002: Ireland won 16-7, Dublin

Prediction: The Pumas are in a rebuilding phase and fielding a largely home-based selection. It was evident last week they were not competitive enough and it will be more of the same this week - Ireland by 15 points or more.

Teams:

Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Lucas González Amorosino, 13 Jerónimo De la Fuente, 12 Gabriel Ascárate, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (captain), 8 Antonio Ahualli de Chazal, 7 Tomás De la Vega, 6 Rodrigo Báez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Matías Cortese, 1 Lucas Noguera Paz.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Iglesias Valdez, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Matías Díaz, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Matías Orlando.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Darren Cave, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Paul O'Connell (captain), 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best. 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 James Cronin, 18 Jack McGrath, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Noel Reid.

Date: Saturday, June 14
Venue: Estadio José Fierro, Tucumán
Kick-off: 15.40 (18.40 GMT, 19.40 BST)
Expected weather: Noticeably cooler, but little chance of rain. High of 17°C and a low of 8°C
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), John Lacey (Ireland)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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