Ireland boss Schmidt caught out by Argentina line-up

Ruben Hill
November 10, 2018

The serious stuff starts this weekend, with Our Old Friends Argentina™ in town for the first of the three Autumn Tests in Dublin.

He links up once again up front with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong.

We all expected James Ryan to come back into the starting line-up, but his second-row partner was always going to be anybody's guess.

Replacements: 16-Sean Cronin, 17-Jack McGrath, 18-Andrew Porter, 19-Devin Toner, 20-Dan Leavy, 21-Luke McGrath, 22-Joey Carbery, 23-Andrew Conway.

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 got to be a degree of consideration for getting the best players on the pitch, and maybe that's what Mario's looking for, with Guido Petti in the back-row, with Alemanno and Lavanini at lock this weekend", said Ireland boss Schmidt.

"I'd never describe anything as being on track, because there are so many variables between now and then that can upset what we're currently doing", he said at this afternoon's press conference at Carton House.

"So, post-Saturday, I'd like to think that we can look at things and be more comfortable either that we've put something together or that we've got a few more things we've learned that we can put together for the following week and the weeks beyond it".

Ireland are hoping his return will help their push towards success at next year's World Cup in Japan where they have legitimate ambitions of success, but O'Brien is only setting himself small targets as he works his way back.

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

Schmidt coached his Pumas counterpart Mario Ledesma at French giants Clermont and believes the former Argentina hooker has a "cunning plan" behind shifting Petti to the back-row.

"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".

"I think he had a lot of the attributes". Seán O'Brien returns to the Ireland shirt for the first time since they last faced Argentina at the end of last year's November window.

"He has already done an incredible job in broadening his experience for example with the Wallabies (when he was forwards' coach)".

"And very much an upsurge since the June series with the national team". That's the stubborn part, where I won't give in to it.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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