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Extra bite to Pumas tie

AS the iconic Scottish broadcaster Bill McLaren would have said, it looks like coming down to a bit of 'Argy-bargy'.

COACH Santiago Phelan's 'Argies' will take some 'barging' out of the way as Declan Kidney's Ireland look to secure their second seed as one of the 5th-8th nations in the world rankings at the end of this November series.

At the moment, Argentina have moved one above Ireland into seventh, leaving the Irish in a precarious position even though the All Blacks spanked ninth-ranked Scotland 51-22 at Murrayfield yesterday.

Qualifier

Ireland's match against Argentina could very well be the most important international in between the 2011 and 2015 World Cups.

"We're there again, aren't we? It will be a World Cup qualifier in lots of ways," said Ireland coach Declan Kidney.

"That is why the next week or 10 days will be so important to prepare. That is why we need the right balance between combinations and freshening it up."

Kidney described Paul O'Connell's chances of a return to action as "extremely unlikely" around about the same time it was confirmed former Leinster hero Felipe Contepomi's international career is at an end from a knee ligament injury.

Even so, those pesky Pumas took a large chunk of confidence out of Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday in a show of strength and purpose to depose the home side 26-12.

Wales interim coach Rob Howley noted: "Their experience and their exposure to the Rugby Championship have taken them to another level.

"You have to play against the best to learn, and they've certainly learned from it," said the former Wales scrum-half.

Going into the weekend, with Ireland ranked seventh, Argentina eighth and Scotland ninth in the world, the simple fact is that the Scots are unlikely to break into the top eight.

But, should they defy the odds by beating South Africa on Saturday, Ireland and Argentina could come together in a winner-takes-all shootout at the Aviva Stadium seven days later.

Momentum

"We always knew coming into it -- now that they are in The Rugby Championship -- that they would have a lot more games under their belts.

"They probably showed the benefit of being in it (against Wales).

"That will give them huge momentum.

"They are over to France next week for a bit of a local derby. This is going to change from week-to-week. It is going to play right down to the wire."

Indeed, Declan Kidney's hold on his tenure and Ireland's world cup rankings could all come down to what happens against Argentina.


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