Ireland v Argentina
Kidney spurred on by rankings dilemma
PA Sport
November 19, 2008
Declan Kidney the head Coach of Ireland during the match between Ireland and New Zealand at Croke Park in Dublin Ireland on November 15, 2008.
Kidney is hoping his side can upset the IRB rankings against the Pumas this weekend © Getty Images

Ireland coach Declan Kidney admits the chase for world-ranking points has added a fresh dimension to Saturday's clash with Argentina.

The latest International Rugby Board standings have confirmed the Irish must prevail at Croke Park if they are to avoid another 'group of death' at the World Cup. The rankings decide the seedings for the 2011 tournament and should Ireland lose, and Scotland complete an expected victory over Canada, they will be drawn alongside two top-tier nations.

"Nobody is doubting the challenge that faces us this Saturday against another team that is above us in the IRB rankings," said Kidney. "Added to the fact that both teams have something to play for in terms of those world rankings, I think that it gives this game even more of a competitive edge.

"Argentina are a team that work and play extremely hard for each other, so they'll no doubt give their best performance of the autumn against us."

Kidney names the starting line-up for Ireland's final autumn clash tomorrow morning after delaying the team announcement by 48 hours. He is waiting on the fitness of Munster second row Paul O'Connell and Ulster hooker Rory Best after the duo suffered dead legs in Saturday's 22-3 defeat by New Zealand.

And the availability of Alan Quinlan will be confirmed tonight when the Munster flanker appears before a disciplinary hearing after being cited for stamping against the All Blacks. The trio featured in an extended 28-strong squad unveiled yesterday as Kidney takes his time over a team selection that will have huge ramifications for Irish rugby in 2011.

"Paul and Rory are doing okay as they continue rehab on their dead legs. They took a limited part in training yesterday," said Kidney. "Alan is involved in a disciplinary hearing so we are just trying to give as much time possible for these matters to be cleared up before we confirm the team.

"All three of them have been named in the squad and the fact that we decided on 28 members shows how competitive the battle for places is heading into this game. It also allows us to cover several combinations if anybody is ruled out of the game."


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