Preview: Ireland exit courtesy of powerful Pumas
September 30, 2007

Ireland have recalled Geordan Murphy in one of two changes to the starting line-up for Sunday's World Cup clash with Argentina in Paris.

Leinster full-back Girvan Dempsey sustained a shoulder injury during Friday's 25-3 defeat to France and has lost his fitness battle.

It is a dramatic return for Murphy, who was controversially omitted from the 22 against France, as Ireland launch their last-ditch effort to qualify for the quarter-finals.

In the second change, Denis Hickie replaces Andrew Trimble on the left wing with the Ulster player paying the price for his defensive frailties against the hosts.

Trimble displaces Gavin Duffy on the bench with Hickie playing probably his last match following his decision to retire from all rugby after the World Cup.

Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan has left the hooker slot open as he waits for injury updates on Jerry Flannery (shoulder stinger) and Rory Best (dislocated thumb).

Both front rows could be available for the Pool D finale at Parc des Princes and O'Sullivan will make a final decision over who starts in the next couple of days.

O'Sullivan hopes Murphy's return will inspire Ireland as they seek the bonus-point victory by more than seven points that will enable them to progress into the quarter-finals.

He said: "We know what Georgia can do - cometh the hour, cometh the man is the mantra for him. It's an exciting back three.''

O'Sullivan will finalise his front row and bench when he receives medical bulletins on Best and Flannery.

He said: "Rory Best has recovered sufficiently. The hooker situation is we already had Rory carrying an injury which he has almost recovered from.

"We'll know in the next 24 hours if he is available. Jerry should be okay as well.

"We're waiting for clarification on their situations. I don't want to make my mind up until I have all the facts. Jerry should be okay.''

Munster fly-half Ronan O'Gara missed training for two days because of a calf injury but O'Sullivan revealed he will be ready for Sunday.

He said: "Ronan has a knock on his leg. It is bruised but he will be fine. He's made good progress and I'm not worried about him.''

More seriously though the Irish camp was rocked by the withdrawal of Simon Best from the squad on medical grounds.

Health officials now believe that his symptoms are related to a cardiac issue, allaying concerns he had suffered a stroke, but an exact diagnosis has yet to be determined.

Best, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup, was rushed to Bordeaux's Pellegrin Hospital earlier this week after developing a loss of sensation down his right side.

The 29-year-old Ulster front row also complained of a mild headache and a difficulty in speaking and underwent a series of tests, including an MRI scan, an angiogram and a CT.

Best is comfortable and his symptoms have settled and will return to Belfast within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Ireland Coach Eddie O'Sullivan said: "This is very positive for Simon and we will continue to monitor his progress carefully.

"The care he has received so far has been excellent and team doctor Gary O'Driscoll has been with him throughout.''

The encouraging update has allowed a stunned Ireland camp to breath an almighty sigh of relief.

Munster prop Tony Buckley has been called up to replace Best, who was named on the bench for Sunday's World Cup clash with Argentina in Paris.

Buckley has departed for France with Best's Ulster team-mate Bryan Young filling the vacancy on the bench against the Pumas.

Juan Martin Hernandez will make his return from injury for Argentina.

The Stade Francais star played in the opening two wins over France and Georgia, but missed last Saturday's 63-3 victory over Namibia with a thigh injury.

Despite being a full-back by trade, he will again line up at fly-half, alongside scrum-half and captain Agustin Pichot.

Felipe Contepomi, who started at number 10 against the Namibians, moves back into midfield and will partner his brother Manuel at centre.

With Juan Manuel Leguizamon out injured, Gonzalo Longo Elia comes in at number eight to make his first start of the tournament.

In total, there are five changes of personnel from last weekend.

Hooker Mario Ledesma and prop Juan Martin Scelzo are back in the front row in place of Alberto Vernet Basualdo and Omar Hasan.

And Lucas Borges - a scorer of two tries in the 33-3 win over Georgia - regains his place on the right wing, with Hernan Senillosa dropping to the bench.

The Pumas need just a point to finish top of the group.

Argentina:I Corleto; L Borges, M Contepomi, F Contepomi, H Agulla; JM Hernandez, A Pichot (capt); R Roncero, M Ledesma, JM Scelzo, I Fernandez Lobbe, P Albacete, L Ostiglia, JM Fernandez Lobbe, G Longo Elia.

Replacements: A Vernet Basualdo, O Hasan, R Alvarez Kairelis, M Durand, N Fernandez Miranda, F Todeschini, H Senillosa.

Ireland: Murphy; Horgan, O'Driscoll, D'Arcy, Hickie; O'Gara, Reddan; Horan, Flannery, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Connell, Easterby, D. Wallace, Leamy.

Replacements: R Best, T Buckley, O'Kelly, N Best, Boss, P Wallace, A Trimble.

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