Gilroy to win first cap against Pumas
Rugby:Ireland have named Craig Gilroy on the left wing for Saturday’s vital conclusion to the autumn series against Argentina at Aviva Stadium. Gilroy replaces Ulster colleague Andrew Trimble, who drops out of the 23 altogether, in the only change to the side beaten 16-12 by South Africa two weeks ago.
Coach Declan Kidney has rewarded the uncapped 21-year-old for his dynamic display in Saturday’s non-cap international against Fiji.
Gilroy scored three tries in the 53-0 victory at Thomond Park and has profited from Trimble’s disappointing afternoon against the Springboks. “Craig was with us last June and played in the Barbarians match,” Kidney said of the newcomer.
“It’s a policy of ours to bring guys into training for the last number of years and he’s done quite well. He’s played Rabo and had good games there, then backed it up last week. He’s had a good bit of exposure on the left wing which I think is handy.
“We were trying to balance fact that most of the team had games under their belt against South Africa. There were a lot more close calls than you might think given there’s only one change since the South Africa game. That’s why it took me a couple of days to finalise things.
“I thought Luke (Marshall) played very well against Fiji but there probably a bit of rustiness there as he hasn’t had huge amount of game time over the last five or six weeks. It probably played into Gordon D’Arcy’s hands that he played in the South Africa game and the Heineken Cup. Luke is one for the future, and given his performance last week that future might not be too far off.”
Gilroy added: “I’m obviously delighted to be involved. Argentina will be a different kettle of fish to Fiji. I just want to do the basics well and take my opportunity. It’s been great. It’s all happening pretty fast for me. I just need to keep my feet on the ground, take it all in and enjoy it really.
“It will be higher intensity on Saturday and at every level it will be tougher. I just want to get the basics right and if try-scoring chances come, I hope to take those as well.”
Juan Martin Hernandez returns at fullback in one of four changes made by Argentina. Hernandez missed the 39-22 defeat by France last weekend because of a thigh strain, but has been passed fit for the final match of the Pumas’ year.
The Racing Metro star, who can also play outhalf, replaces Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino with Nicolas Sanchez selected in the number 10 jersey. Exeter wing Gonzalo Camacho and Montpellier centre Santiago Fernandez come in for Horacio Agulla and Gonzalo Tiesi with Marcelo Bosch shifting to outside centre.
Montpellier tighthead Maximiliano Bustos makes he debut at the expense of Juan Figallo.
The clash with Argentina has taken on critical significance, prompting Kidney to revert to the XV that opened the autumn schedule, apart from Gilroy. Saturday’s winners will secure a place in the top eight of the IRB rankings, which are being used to determine the seedings for the 2015 World Cup.
The losers will slip into the third tier of seeds for next month’s draw and face the possibility of being selected in a pool containing two major nations. Adding further impetus to Ireland’s quest for victory is their current five-test losing sequence, their worst run for 14 years. If Argentina add to their misery at Lansdowne Road, Kidney’s position will come under intense scrutiny.
Ireland are missing highly-influential Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell, Rory Best, Stephen Ferris, Sean O’Brien and Rob Kearney to injury, but the South Africa game was a missed opportunity to claim a prized southern hemisphere scalp. The rivals have met on 12 previous occasions with the Irish winning seven matches, including the last two.
Ireland:S Zebo (Munster); T Bowe (Ulster), K Earls (Munster), G D’Arcy (Leinster), C Gilroy (Ulster), J Sexton (Leinster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Strauss (Leinster), M Ross (Leinster); D Ryan (Munster), M McCarthy (Connacht); P O’Mahony (Munster), C Henry (Ulster), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt). Replacements:D Kilcoyne (Munster), S Cronin (Leinster), M Bent (Leinster), D O’Callaghan (Munster), I Henderson (Ulster), E Reddan (Leinster), R O’Gara (Munster), F McFadden (Leinster).
Argentina:J M Hernandez (Racing Metro), G Camacho (Exeter), M Bosch (Biarritz), S Fernandez (Montpellier), J Imhoff (Racing Metro), N Sanchez (Bordeaux-Begles), M Landajo (San Isidro), M Ayerza (Leicester), E Guinazu (Southern Kings), M Bustos (Montpellier), M Carizza (Racing Metro), J F Cabello (Tucuman), J M Fernandez Lobbe (Toulon, capitan), J M Leguizamon (Lyon), L Senatore (Gimnasia Rosario). Replacements:A Ceevy (Montpellier), N Lobo (Montpellier), F Gomez Kodela (Biarritz), T Vallejos Cinalli (Scarlets), T Leonardi (San Isidro), N Vergallo (Tolouse), G Tiesi (San Isidro), M Montero (Pucura).