Joe Schmidt Names Irish Team To Face Argentina

Pablo Matera has won 55 caps since making his debut as a 19-year-old in 2013

Pablo Matera has won 55 caps since making his debut as a 19-year-old in 2013

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has warned his players lining up for Saturday's one-off Test with Argentina they need to focus on that and not the clash with world champions New Zealand a week later.

Schmidt coached Ledesma and Clermont between 2007 and 2010, and admitted the wily front-rower was already guiding his peers by that point. He needs a big, big game on Saturday with Dan Leavy on the bench champing at the bit though if he's to start against the All Blacks.

Jordan Larmour plays at full-back in the absence of Rob Kearney, and the old Connacht duo of Henshaw and Aki is reprised at centre as Garry Ringrose misses out through injury.

"There's a couple of positions where we've got good depth and we're not particularly comfortable week to week making decisions because we know there's some really good players who are going to be disappointed".

"I hope everyone is looking over their shoulder", said Schmidt referring to the players in the starting XV.

Sean O'Brien is back.

Only five of those have been starts but Marmion is a tried and trusted Schmidt player having been a virtual ever-present around Carton House since his debut back in 2014, and the head coach pointed to his performance against England two years ago as a sign of the 26-year-old's ability to deputise in the nine jersey.

"What Joe has done for Irish rugby, not just for the national team but also Leinster, is evident and plain to see", said Best at his press conference on the eve of the Test match with Argentina.

"If their back three get the ball the more likely they (the Argentinians) are going to break teams open, because they're tackle breakers, they're line breakers and they link up in behind the line really effectively once they break the line", said Schmidt.

"He was already coaching, he was already contributing [at Clermont]", he added.

"Knowing Mario there will be some cunning plan to it, and we'll have to probably decipher it on the run, once we've kicked off on Saturday".

"They have very good players, all of them". If Vern (Cotter) wasn't there I would always defer to Mario to drive the pack, mainly because I couldn't speak to them because of my hackneyed French phrases, and I had a limitation that was mostly backs-related.

"And he's already done an incredible job in broadening his own experiences".

"I think confidence is a lot and in the Rugby Championship we had up and downs maybe so we'll try to play the game we played against South Africa which was probably our best 80 minutes".

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