Tour of Argentina: Ireland travel to Resistencia for first Pumas Test
Last Updated: 06/06/14 3:32pm
Six Nations champions Ireland travel to Argentina as the dawning of new era begins with Joe Schmidt preparing to take on a weakened Pumas side in Resistencia.
Argentina are without any European-based players for the two-Test series which is set to allow Schmidt the opportunity to experiment with developing players.
Although Ireland have prevailed in the last three meetings between the nations, they are yet to claim victory on Argentinian soil and will be eager to erase 2007 from their memories.
That was Ireland’s last trip to the South American country where they lost 22-20 and 16-0 in a two-match series, before bowing out to the Pumas at the World Cup in France months later.
That 30-15 victory at the Parc des Princes in the group stages of the 2007 tournament was the last time Argentina prevailed against Ireland, who have won eight of the 13 meetings between the sides.
"It's nice to know the Six Nations is in the past and hopefully it can serve us well going forward," said Ireland assistant coach Lee Kiss.
"It guarantees you nothing going forward, we've still got to get out there and do the things that make us a team that we are proud of. And if we keep doing those things everything is possible."
Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade has been hit by a combination of injuries and unavailability ahead of Ireland’s arrival in South America.
The Pumas named two separate squads for the June internationals and The Rugby Championship, with the latter seeing their star players included.
With the southern hemisphere competition in mind, Juan Martin Hernandez, Horacio Agulla, Marcelo Bosch, Agustin Creevy, Juan Imhoff, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Pablo Matera all miss out this month.
However, Martin Landajo and Nicolas Sanchez will form a strong half-back combination for the opening Test, while Manuel Carizza wears number four and Joaquin Tuculet is at full-back.
There is a sense of a new chapter in the history of Irish rugby as they seek a replacement for the retired Brian O’Driscoll, with a number of candidates in contention.
Robbie Henshaw is viewed of one of the leading contenderss to replace him, along with Darren Cave, while Ulster’s Jared Payne will qualify to represent his adopted nation next year.
An injury blow for Henshaw has opened the door for Cave to stake his claim for the No 13 jersey as he forms a midfield partnership with Luke Marshall.
Flankers Peter O'Mahony and Sean O'Brien are both left at home as they continue rehabilitating before next year’s World Cup, but Jonathan Sexton, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney and captain Paul O'Connell are all present.
Saturday’s showdown at the Estadio Centenario will see Munster lock O’Connell claim his 100th Test cap with his 92 Ireland caps added to his seven appearances for the British and Irish Lions.
While O’Connell may be reaching the twilight of his career, Ulster’s Robbie Diack will make his international debut starting at blindside flanker alongside Chris Henry and highly-rated No 8 Jordi Murphy from Leinster.
Argentina: 15 Tuculet; 14 Cordero, 13 De la Fuente, 12 Ascarate, 11 Montero; 10 Sanchez, 9 Landajo; 1 Paz, 2 Cortese, 3 Herrera; 4 Carizza, 5 Lavanini; 6 Baez, 7 De la Vega; 8 Macome
Replacements: 16 Montoya, 17 Postiglioni, 18 Chaparro, 19 Alemanno, 20 Desio, 21 Cubelli, 22 Iglesias, 23 Amorosino
Ireland: 15 Jones; 14 Trimble, 13 Cave, 12 Marshall, 11 Zebo; 10 Sexton, 9 Murray; 1 McGrath, 2 Best, 3 Ross; 4 Henderson, 5 O’Connell (capt); 6 Diack, 7 Henry; 8 Murphy
Replacements: 16 Varley, 17 Kilcoyne, 18 Ah You, 19 Toner, 20 Heaslip, 21 Marmion, 22 Madigan, 23 McFadden
Watch Argentina v Ireland live from 7:30pm on Sky Sports 1HD
Ireland tour of Argentina 2014
Ireland are targeting a series win when they line-up for Saturday's second Test against Argentina in Tucuman.