Ireland v Argentina
Ireland and Pumas renew rivalry at Croke Park
November 22, 2008

Ireland have recalled Geordan Murphy and Jerry Flannery for Saturday's crucial showdown with Argentina at Croke Park.

Murphy returns at full-back with Girvan Dempsey dropping out of the squad altogether following Saturday's 22-3 defeat by New Zealand. Flannery is restored to the front row, forcing hooker Rory Best - who has recovered from a dead leg - to settle for a place among the substitutes.

In the third and final change to the side swept aside by New Zealand, Ulster back-row Stephen Ferris replaces the suspended Alan Quinlan in the number six jersey. Quinlan was handed a three-week ban after a citing for stamping against the All Blacks was upheld by a disciplinary hearing this week. Ireland failed in their appeal against the decision so Munster's Donnacha Ryan comes onto the bench.

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 just 18 years, with the series locked at five wins apiece. It was the irrepressible Pumas who sealed Ireland's demise at last year's World Cup, cruising to a 30-15 victory that dumped Brian O'Driscoll's side out at the group stage.

The contest was the third of three pivotal World Cup encounters between the teams, who also met in 1999 and 2001. And Saturday's showdown in Dublin - where Argentina have never won - is another seismic contest 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.

Argentina coach Santiago Phelan has made five changes to his starting XV. Horacio Agulla comes in at fullback with Bernardo Stortoni, who played in that position in the 22-14 win at Italy last weekend, dropping to the bench.

Francisco Leonelli comes in on the right wing in place of Federico Martin Aramburu who switches to centre alongside Miguel Avramovic. The pair replace Gonzalo Tiesi and Felipe Contepomi.

Skipper Contepomi misses out after contracting an infection in a cut on his right hand. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe therefore takes over as captain and moves to the openside. Juan Manuel Leguizamon will take his place at number eight.

Phelan's final change sees Rimas Alvarez Kairelis come into the second row at the expense of Esteban Lozada.

Argentina lost influential playmaker Juan martin Hernandez to an injury in the warm-up, his place is taken by 23-year-old Santiago Fernandez.

Ireland: Geordan Murphy (Leicester), Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster, Captain), Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster), Robert Kearney (UCD/Leinster), Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Tomas O'Leary (Dolphin/Munster), Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster), Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster), John Hayes (Bruff/Munster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster), Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster), David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster), Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)

Replacements: Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster), Malcolm O'Kelly (St.Mary's College/Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), Eoin Reddan (Wasps), Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)

Argentina: Horacio Agulla, Francisco Leonelli, Federico Martin Aramburu, Miguel Avramovic, Rafael Carballo, Juan Martin Hernandez, Nicolas Vergallo, Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Rimas Alvarez Kairelis, Patricio Albacete, Martin Durand, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), Juan Manuel Leguizamon

Replacements: Alberto Vernet Basualdo, Marcos Ayerza, Esteban Lozada, Alvaro Galindo, Agustin Figuerola, Santiago Fernandez, Bernardo Stortoni

Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

Assistant referees: Mark Lawrence (South Africa), Rob Debney (England)
Television Match Official: Graham Hughes (England)


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