Friday 23 February 2018

Kidney set to name strong side

Declan Kidney is expected to stick with his established stars
Declan Kidney is expected to stick with his established stars

Ireland coach Declan Kidney is expected to revert to the players defeated by South Africa when he names his team to face Argentina.

Having blooded his rookies in last weekend's 53-0 romp against Fiji, the more serious business of toppling the Pumas will require Kidney's strongest XV.

The only likely change to the side dispatched 16-12 by the Springboks will be on the left wing, with Ulster's uncapped 21-year-old Craig Gilroy displacing Andrew Trimble.

The showdown with Argentina has taken on critical significance, with the winners securing a place in the top eight of the IRB rankings which are being used to determine the seedings for the 2015 World Cup.

The losers will slip into the third tier of seeds for next month's draw and face the possibility of being selected in a pool containing two major nations.

Ulster back row Chris Henry has revealed that training has been fractious this week as Ireland seek a triumphant climax to the Guinness Series.

And assistant coach Anthony Foley has made no attempt to diffuse the simmering tension.

"You don't try and rein that side of things in. You enjoy it," he said. "We've a lot of good players who really want to have a go and make a career, make a name for themselves in international rugby.

"Anytime you're involved in a team coming into a crunch encounter everybody wants to be in the starting XV, everybody wants to dominate and nobody wants to be seen to be dominated."

"There isn't much being held back in training and there isn't much being held back in preparation. Everybody is champing at each other, everybody is pushing each other hard."

Press Association

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