Gilroy brings the feel-good factor
As part of this process, the squad stayed together on Wednesday’s down day to enjoy the 4x4 off-road track at their base in the Carton House. “It was good to have the squad stay together.”
In the evening they were entertained by Hermitage Green, the band in which former Munster centre Barry Murphy sings and plays bass guitar.
Although he missed out on the 2007 World Cup, Heaslip has played against Argentina three times, and asked what defines Los Pumas, smiled and said: “I was going to say they’re big. They’re big bruisers, just big men, strong men, just tough men. They’re not afraid to mix it up and get down and dirty and just grind it out.
“At the same time they have backs that can play. Unfortunately Felipe (Contepomi) isn’t playing, I would have loved to see him play, you can have so much craic with him during a game. But they’re a team that can kind of do everything and they impress me every time I play against them and every time I watch them.”
Heaslip and his backrow will have their hands full with Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (“a great guy, a fantastic player and a great leader”) and his amigos, with particular emphasis on the breakdown. Ireland will need to be more accurate to generate quicker and cleaner ball, with Heaslip attributing 60 per cent of their effectiveness to the carrier and 30 per cent to the first man in. “We can’t go off as lone wolves, as such, which we did once or twice in the South African game, and got turned over pretty easy.”
Kidney admitted they were “fully aware of the consequences” attached to Saturday’s match against what he reckoned are “probably the best prepared November Argentinian side we’ll ever have played against, coming off what they have done.”
Specifically with regard to the improvements necessary from a fortnight ago, the coach said: “Play for the 80 minutes. We probably got a good 40 there. We didn’t back it up then with a good 40. We probably got a good 60 against Fiji. Against Argentina we’re probably going to need to play eight good 10-minute blocks because if you drop off in any of them you’ll get seven, 10, 13 points down and they’re a hard team to claw that back off.”
Alongside him, Heaslip nodded firmly in agreement.