Tuesday 12 December 2017

Murphy handed Ireland recall

Geordan Murphy
Geordan Murphy

Geordan Murphy has been recalled for Ireland's final autumn international against Argentina at Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

The Leicester captain will start at full-back after Rob Kearney sustained a knee injury in last weekend's 38-18 defeat by New Zealand.

It will be Murphy's 69th Test appearance and his first since winning two caps as a substitute on the summer tour Down Under.

Peter Stringer's recent revival has earnt him a place in the team at the expense of misfiring scrum-half Eoin Reddan, who drops to the bench.

Stringer, who will win his 95th cap, starts alongside fly-half Jonathan Sexton for the first time.

Knee injury victim Luke Fitzgerald has been replaced by Andrew Trimble on the left wing in the third and final change to the backs.

Centres Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy and winger Tommy Bowe have all been cleared to play after picking up knocks against the All Blacks.

The only changes to the pack are in the from row where Sean Cronin and Peter Buckley have been drafted in.

Hooker Cronin replaces Rory Best, who fractured his cheekbone last Saturday, while Buckley replaces Tom Court at tighthead prop.

Buckley is back after incurring a hip injury in the autumn opener against South Africa, so Court drops to the bench. Once again there is no place for Mike Ross.

In total there are five changes to the side that produced an autumn-best performance against New Zealand, three of them enforced.

Ireland are placed one spot above Argentina in the world rankings in seventh, though their positions will be reversed if the Pumas prevail.

It will be 12th time the rivals have met - the record will read six victories each if Argentina triumph - in a feisty fixture that has witnessed plenty of bad blood.

Head coach Declan Kidney is eager to see the half-back pairing of Sexton and Stringer play a full match.

"It's a combination I haven't started before. They had 15 minutes together against New Zealand and that went OK," said Kidney.

"Peter's the guy for clearing the ruck area if the ball presents itself properly and Jonathan's been going OK, so that's why he gets another go.

"There's an element of the unknown and now's the time to see this combination together."

Press Association

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