Cave to wear O'Driscoll's No 13 jersey in first Test as Diack poised for debut
Published 05/06/2014 | 02:30
Darren Cave is expected to be handed the first Ireland No 13 jersey since Brian O'Driscoll's retirement in Saturday's first Test against Argentina in Resistencia.
The five-times capped Ulster man is the only out-and-out outside centre on tour in South America, and with Joe Schmidt set to rest the majority of the Leinster players who started in last week's Pro12 final win against Glasgow Warriors, he gets his chance to impress.
Ulster are likely to be heavily represented in manager Joe Schmidt's team, with Luke Marshall expected to partner Cave in midfield and Six Nations stalwarts Rory Best, Andrew Trimble and Chris Henry likely to be involved.
South African-born flanker Robbie Diack is likely to win his first cap for Ireland, while Rodney Ah You and Kieran Marmion could also make their debuts off the bench, with the Connacht scrum-half vying with Eoin Reddan for a place among the replacements.
Schmidt names his team at 6.0 (Irish time) today after the team fly from Buenos Aires to the northern province of Chaco where the first Test takes place.
Meanwhile, the retirement of Stephen Ferris continues to reverberate around the team base in Argentina, where Henry described his Ulster team-mate as irreplaceable yesterday.
"It was on the cards for a while and, when you realise he has made that final decision it brings it all home a wee bit," he said of the blindside's decision to hang up his boots after a long battle with ankle injuries.
"He's a massive loss for Irish and Ulster rugby, as a good friend it's hard to take and puts it all in perspective about how quickly it could all end.
"For me personally, he was a massive influence on my career. He was a year younger than me, but since he arrived in the academy you could see his talent and what a freak he was.
"What a career he has had... I've no doubt whatever he puts his mind to now he'll be successful, but it will take a while – I don't think we'll ever be able to replace someone like Ferris at Ulster and Ireland."
Ireland (possible v Argentina) – F Jones; A Trimble, D Cave, L Marshall, S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best, M Ross; I Henderson, P O'Connell (capt); R Diack, C Henry, J Murphy.