Ireland v Argentina
Murphy reclaims No.15 jersey once again
PA Sport
November 20, 2008
Geordan Murphy of Ireland in action during the match between England and Ireland at Twickenham in London, England on March 15, 2008.
Geordan Murphy's turbulent international career will take another twist against the Pumas © Getty Images

Geordan Murphy's turbulent Ireland career today produced a fresh twist when the Leicester full-back was recalled for Saturday's crucial showdown with Argentina.

An unused squad member so far this autumn, Murphy has been handed the No. 15 jersey as one of three changes to the team toppled 22-3 by New Zealand. Girvan Dempsey, his long-time rival for the full-back duties, has been dropped from the 22 with Test rookie Keith Earls continuing on the bench.

Often slipping in and out of favour under Eddie O'Sullivan, this will be Murphy's first appearance for new coach Declan Kidney. The gifted 30-year-old has accumulated 58 caps yet injury and some erratic form regularly diminished his influence.

Frequently being shunted away from his preferred position at full-back and onto the wing has also frustrated a player once acclaimed as the "George Best of rugby".

"Geordan has been playing well. Full-back is an area that is highly competitive at the moment," said Kidney. "We felt it was tight over who would start in the last two weekends and Geordan is the right man for the job against Argentina.

"He is a good reader of the game. He has his strengths and like all players he has things that don't go his way. He has been around that long that everyone knows what he can do."

Ulster hooker Rory Best exchanges places with Jerry Flannery with the Munsterman selected to start in the front row while Stephen Ferris replaces Alan Quinlan. Quinlan was last night suspended for three weeks after a citing for stamping against the All Blacks was upheld by a disciplinary hearing.

Ireland have opted to appeal the decision and with the hearing being held tomorrow afternoon, a space on the bench has been left open in case Quinlan wins a late reprieve.

Ferris was in magnificent form in the autumn opener against Canada and Kidney admitted the Ulster back row was in contention before Quinlan's ban.

"Stephen started against Canada. He played well and I had that in mind before last night's hearing," he said. "Jerry played very well against Canada and Rory played well last week. It's not that Rory has done a whole lot wrong, it's just a judgment call."

Leinster veteran Malcolm O'Kelly, Ireland's most capped player with 91 appearances, will provide second-row cover from the bench. Lions lock Paul O'Connell has shaken off his dead leg and continues in an all-Munster tight five.

Argentina have won the last three matches of a highly competitive rivalry spanning 10 meetings over 18 years, with the series locked at five victories apiece.

Their next encounter is the latest in a string of seismic contests between the sides as Ireland must triumph to retain eighth place in the world rankings. Victory will ensure they are among the seeds for the 2011 World Cup draw on December 1, while defeat would see them selected in a group containing two top-tier nations.

"It's going to be very physical. Argentina do have a way of keeping the scoreboard ticking along," said Kidney. "They have a strong set-piece. You don't get to be ranked fourth in the world by having a bad side.

"Every time you played them there was always something on the line over the last number of years."


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