Monday 20 January 2020

It's win at all costs for Kidney and Ireland

Players must lay it on line to avoid rankings disaster

Conor George

LET the battle begin, but whatever we do, let's win the game.

That was the collective call from the Irish camp ahead of today's crucial World Cup seeding clash with Argentina.

The winners of today's Aviva showdown will be guaranteed a place in the second tier of seeds for next month's 2015 World Cup draw.

The losers could slip out of the IRB's top eight rankings and potentially face a pool containing two heavyweight rivals.

While Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip says everyone in the squad is well aware of the ramifications of losing out, he stresses the need for a confidence-boosting victory is foremost in the players' thoughts.

"In the greater scheme of things it's an important game, but for us it's like any other match," Heaslip said.

"We've all played in big matches like Heineken Cup finals and internationals. We just have to treat it like we treat every game and chance that we get.

"Argentina will be a lot more organised because of the time they have had together. They have a big, physical pack and their backs aren't afraid to play either."

Front-row Cian Healy is looking forward to the physical test he and his Ireland colleagues will face. Healy packed down against Martin Scelzo two years ago when the sides last met, but he is not expecting things to be any easier against Argentina's debut tighthead Maximiliano Bustos.

"He's a very big lad. They are a muscular and very physical pack. In the scrum they bring a lot of pressure down on the back of your neck and I do find it hard going against heavier opposition.

"That's the challenge though, and it's one I'm looking forward to," said Healy.

Healy spoke about the pride the Irish players feel when they wear the green jersey and it is that emotion they will be seeking to tap into when they face off against the Pumas.

"This is the pinnacle of your career. Every time you wear the jersey it's a special occasion and feeling. That there is maybe more at stake in terms of ranking points but that isn't an issue. We want to win the match, the same as we do every game we play," he added.

Irish Independent

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