D’Arcy warns Ireland’s walking wounded of Pumas threat
As Ireland slip another place in the world rankings, Gordon D'Arcy has warned that Argentina will pose a serious threat to his side's attempt to improve on their dismal run of seven defeats in their last eight matches.
"Looking at their results, especially the French one at the weekend, it shows what a challenge we have this weekend," said the injured centre, who is hoping to shake off a calf knock to take his place in the side next Sunday.
Tommy Bowe (calf) has declared himself fit, but Brian O'Driscoll (shoulder) will be assessed today as the team re-assembles in Dublin, with coach Declan Kidney considering delaying his team announcement until Thursday.
"Argentina just always seem to make it especially hard to break them down and to run France so close on French soil is a good indicator of what they can bring to the Aviva on Sunday," added D'Arcy.
"It will be good to catch up with Felipe Contepomi both on and off the pitch. From what I have seen he has been going really well with Toulon and seems to be bringing that sort of form onto the international stage.
"It just shows what a great talent he is and that he is still a big player for Argentina. They might be missing (Juan Martin) Hernandez, but they have Felipe there pulling the strings alongside the other experienced players for them like (Mario) Ledesma, (Juan Martin) Fernandez Lobbe, (Gonzalo) Tiesi and (Patricio) Albacete."
Assistant coach Alan Gaffney, whose side have slipped to No 7 in the world, reiterated the physical challenge that the Pumas will bring this weekend.
"I haven't had a chance to look at their game against France yet, but it shows what a tough nut to crack they are," said Gaffney. "There is a physical challenge that they will bring. But what they always have, and I don't think they get as much credit for, is a real cutting edge and some good ball players."
Injured Irish scrum-half Tomas O'Leary may return for Munster against the Dragons this Friday evening.
The Pumas' preparations have been overshadowed by news that five rugby players with Argentine club side San Miguel were killed in a road accident in the country on Sunday as they were travelling to a sevens' competition.