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Gilroy can tame Pumas

Ireland v Argentina

The Aviva Stadium

LIVE RTé2 (2.0 kick-off)

The closest thing you can get to a World Cup match is a World Cup qualifier.

Although there is no such system in rugby, Ireland will find themselves in the bearable heat of tier two or the 'holy hell' of tier three at the 2015 World Cup, depending on whether they win or lose today.

This is how fine the line is between holding a reasonable shot at making one of the 2015 semi-finals or, possibly, being launched straight into a qualification quagmire, that could include our old friends Argentina, to move beyond the pool phase of the tournament.

Ireland have known the deflationary effect of being corralled by the Pumas at the 1999 and 2007 World Cups. There was bad blood and bad intentions from both sides.

The rowdy rivalry also moved into the media with the furore between Leinster's Felipe Contepomi and Munster's Ronan O'Gara spilling over into the international arena.

The normal high jinks for which Donnacha O'Callaghan is generally known were shelved for the purpose of taking aim at Argentina's gauchos.

That was in the distant past in terms of the players who participated in 2007. Only Ireland's Gordon D'Arcy and Argentina's Juan Martin Hernandez and captain Juan Martin Fernanadez-Lobbe remain for this afternoon.

From November 2010, Tommy Bowe, D'Arcy, Jonathan Sexton, Cian Healy and captain Jamie Heaslip started the last time Ireland and Argentina confronted each other in Dublin.

For the Pumas, centre Marcelo Bosch and Fernandez-Lobbe are the only survivors from that 29-9 hangover for the South Americans.


So many come to this with clean hands. The newest and cleanest belong to 21-year-old Ulster wing Craig Gilroy, the fleet-footed, on-form try machine.

They say you learn more from losing than you do from winning. Similarly, you must learn more from the personal bad days than the good ones.

Ireland senior wing Tommy Bowe was into his fourth cap -- the first three were against the USA and Japan twice -- when he finally got a hit out against the mighty All Blacks in November 2005.

It didn't go too well. He was labelled uncertain, too slow to play international rugby on the wing and overwhelmed by the occasion. There are those who wouldn't have recovered to earn his exalted reputation in the game and a half-century of caps for his country.

The Monaghan man must have had sage advice for Gilroy: "I had plenty of advice for him. It is stuff he has already heard a lot with me being back at Ulster," said Bowe.

"There is not too much I can say to him, just go on in the same vein of form that he is in. He has shown in the last two (uncapped) appearances for Ireland against the Barbarians and Fiji that he has played outstanding.

"The way he has trained this week he is looking very sharp. He is in no way arrogant. He is quietly confident, very sure of his own ability.

"He likes to get the ball into his hands, is keen to attack players and take people on."

Maybe Gilroy's innocence of the wars between these two countries will enable him to bring his A-game.

Ireland: S Zebo; T Bowe, K Earls, G D'Arcy, C Gilroy; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross, M McCarthy, D Ryan, P O'Mahony, C Henry, J Heaslip (capt).

Argentina: JM Hernandez; G Camacho, M Bosch, S Fernandez, J Imhoff; N Sanchez, M Landajo; M Ayerza, E Guinazu, M Bustos, M Carizza, JF Cabello, JM Fernandez-Lobbe (capt), JM Leguizamon, L Senatore.