Saturday 24 March 2018

D’Arcy warns Ireland’s walking wounded of Pumas threat

Gordon D'Arcy's Left calf is injured
Gordon D'Arcy's Left calf is injured
INJURY: Suffered cartilage damage in his knee. Underwent exploratory surgery yesterday to determine the extent of the injury.
RETURN: Definitely out of Argentina game but will target Heineken Cup return for Leinster away to Clermont on December 12 once surgery does not expose a serious problem.
IRELAND EFFECT: Will force a change at full-back that, with Luke Fitzgerald out, narrows the options down to Keith Earls, Geordan Murphy or Gavin Duffy. Murphy should get the nod.
Injury: Suffered a similar calf strain to Gordon D'Arcy's.
Return: Could be available to face the Pumas.
Ireland effect: Ireland won't want to have to alter their entire three-quarter line, so if Bowe had a chance of making Sunday, he will get the nod, although the Ospreys will be keeping a close eye on the situation.
Injury: Suffered a bruised shoulder during the New Zealand game and is undergoing rest and rehabilitation.
Return: Has not been ruled out of Sunday's Argentina clash but is more than likely to be rested given importance to Leinster and Ireland.
Ireland effect: Will afford Declan Kidney the opportunity to try out a new centre combination, with Keith Earls the favourite to play at 13, followed by Bowe, although Andrew Trimble and Duffy have played there for Ireland before.
Injury: Picked up a calf strain; undergoing rest and rehabilitation.
Return: May play on Saturday but depends on progress in contact situations.
Ireland effect: Paddy Wallace will stand by to replace the Leinster man, although D'Arcy's defensive performance on Saturday has ensured he remains the main man at No 12 for Ireland.
Injury: Suffered a medial ligament injury to his left knee -- the same knee that he injured last November. But this is a new injury and to a different part of the knee.
Return: According to the IRFU, Fitzgerald is expected to be out for approximately six weeks so will target Leinster's Heineken Cup round five home clash with Saracens.
Ireland effect: Will not now get an opportunity at full-back; Trimble is the most likely contender to take his place on the left wing.
Injury: Ruled out of action with a fractured cheekbone.
Return: Unlikely to play for six weeks as injury heals following surgery, with Heineken Cup round five tie at home to Biarritz the Ulster hooker's target.
Ireland effect: Sean Cronin will most likely start next weekend, and Damien Varley will be keen to see some action from the bench against the strong-scrummaging Pumas.
David Kelly

David Kelly

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.

Irish Independent

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