Ireland v Argentina: Ireland player profiles

James Ryan and Adam Byrne are set for debuts in a team made up of 14 changes

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton at training ahead of the Test match with Argentina. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton at training ahead of the Test match with Argentina. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

15 Rob Kearney (Leinster)

Age: 31 Height: 6’2 Weight: 95kg (14st 13lbs) Caps: 77 Points: 67

A long time out with injury he returned against South Africa. He said this week that he needs his health and game time. Composure and courage under the high ball are his hallmark with experience and greater intelligence now added.

14 Adam Byrne (Leinster)

Age: 23 Height: 6’4’’ Weight: 98 kg (15st 6lb) Caps: 0 Points: 0

A surprise pick, the athletic winger comes in for his first cap and at 18 was Leinster’s youngest player. He has pace and power. Defensively this is a challenge but he has nimble feet, quick hands and has a sharp nose for the line.

13 Chris Farrell (Munster)

Age: 24 Height: 6’4’’ Weight: 110 kg (17st 0lb) Caps: 1 Points: 0

The Belfast centre has come the full circle from Fivemiletown to France and back. His power is a natural advantage and got him an Ulster game at 18. A strong ball carrier, he will break tackles and win ground.

12 Bundee Aki (Connacht)

Age: 27 Height: 6’ Weight: 101kg (15st 12lbs) Caps: 1 Points: 0

His first action in a green shirt was to level a Springbok prop which set the tone for Ireland. Worked well with Henshaw as a partnership. Physically his no compromise style also lifts those round him.

11 Jacob Stockdale (Ulster)

Age: 21 Height: 6’3” Weight: 102kg (16st) Caps: 2 Points: 5

Now springing to life in a green shirt, his height belies light feet and a well balanced runner. He began in the centre and so has those defensive skills and is comfortable in the physical challenge at this level.

10 Johnny Sexton (Leinster)

Age: 32 Height: 6’2” Weight: 92kg (14st 6lbs) Caps: 67 Points: 626

Determines the tempo and plays. Kicks wonderfully for territory and cross field. Tackles upright and calls what plays Ireland chose and when they chose them. Place kicking could be at a premium today. No change there.

9 Conor Murray (Munster)

Age: 28 Height: 6’2” Weight: 94kg (14st 11lbs) Caps: 58 Points: 53

Another central figure and decision maker. Has a physical presence and is a canny box kicker with an ability to snipe at the right time. Defensively he’s very strong too. All round an elite international player. 1 Cian Healy (Leinster)

Age: 30 Height: 6’1” Weight: 115kg (18st 1lb) Caps: 71 Points: 15

Who had written off this quality loosehead. Came off the bench last week and made an instant impression. Lighter and moving better after serious injury. A tackler, ball carrier and another set piece asset.

2 Rory Best (Ulster, captain)

Age: 35 Height: 5’11” Weight: 105kg (16st 7lbs) Caps: 105 Points: 40

His reserved nature belies a ferocious competitor in the ruck, while tackling around the park typifies a leader wedded to the team and outcome. Links well, with lineouts today vital for an attacking Irish platform.

3 Tadhg Furlong (Leinster)

Age: 25 Height: 6’1” Weight: 126kg (19st 11lbs) Caps: 17 Points: 0

A modern tighthead he ball carries, tackles and takes pride in scrummaging. Videoed the set piece from the stands last time the teams met. A Lion at 24 he’s about to get even better and one of Schmidt’s first picks.

4 Iain Henderson (Ulster)

Age: 25 Height: 6’6” Weight: 117kg (18st 5lbs) Caps: 33 Points: 25

Earlier debate was lock or flanker. He’s both and has a pace and strength to prove it. Should have been a Lions starter making huge impact on tour. He has continued that form and the aggression that defines his game.

5 James Ryan (Leinster)

Age: 21 Height: 6’8’’ Weight: 108 kg (17st 0lbs) Caps: 3 Points: 5

First since BOD to play for Ireland before Leinster. His rise was seen from far back. An aggressive presence on both sides of the ball, he is strong in the lineout, has good hands, offloads well and is an intelligent player .

6 Peter O’Mahony (Munster)

Age: 28 Height: 6’3” Weight: 107kg (16st 11lbs) Caps: 40 Points: 5

Over the head injury, he will be Ireland main lineout operator and is strong on both sides of the ball. A naturally aggressive player around the park, he also has good hands and should pop up in wider channels.

7 Seán O’Brien (Leinster)

Age: 30 Height: 6’2” Weight: 108kg (17st) Caps: 50 Points: 35

The type of game in which O’Brien excels is a physical challenge. A standout Lion, he carries off the back of the scrum and is abrasive in broken play. Another player who can shake up a game and lift players.

8 CJ Stander (Munster)

Age: 27 Height: 6’1” Weight: 114kg (17st 13lbs) Caps: 17 Points: 30

He doesn’t shy away from contact, is adept at finding the yards in heavy traffic and is very difficult to stop on the gain line. More refined offloading might serve better occasionally but great at punching holes.

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