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Ringrose and Aki show spark but Henshaw primed for return against Pumas

Ireland’s centres combined well for Ringrose’s second-half try against Italy.

BY THE CLOSING quarter in Chicago, there were signs of the Grand Slam-clinching centre partnership in green.

Ross Byrne sent Bundee Aki bursting through the Italian defence before his accurate pass allowed Garry Ringrose to finish in the right corner.

Garry Ringrose scores Ireland's seventh try Ringrose scored a second-half try for Ireland last weekend. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

As with Ireland collectively, the midfield pairing took their time to grow into the game but Joe Schmidt was pleased by the end.

“It’s great to get a chance to play with him,” said Ringrose of lining out with Aki at Soldier Field. “I’ve played with him a couple of times now and obviously he has the physical aspect to his game but he’s a brilliant footballer so he’s good to play outside of.

“He talks well on the pitch so there was a good line of communication there. We didn’t get it right every time but when we did build into our shape, we managed to get a bit of success on the edge once or twice.”

However, with Robbie Henshaw back in the mix this week – having stayed at home for the trip to Chicago – it looks like Ireland will break up the Aki-Ringrose combination.

Ringrose, remarkably fresh after arriving back into Dublin at 7am this morning, was on media duty in Carton House this afternoon, suggesting that he will again be involved this weekend against the Pumas.

“It’s not too dissimilar,” said Ringrose of pairing up with Henshaw. “They’re both world-class players on both sides of the ball, so it doesn’t differ too much with the quality of communication and the quality of ball you get.

“There’s also that expectation to get to their level, their standard and provide for them equally on the other side.”

Garry Ringrose Ringrose spoke at Carton House after Ireland's return from Chicago. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Whatever way Schmidt goes with his midfield in the next three November Tests, he can rest assured that there will be quality at the heart of his team.

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The Ireland boss will be looking for more from his side collectively against Argentina on Saturday, after they initially struggled against the Italians last weekend.

“We took a few lessons from the first half,” said Ringrose. “We probably didn’t play at the tempo we wanted to and that’s in our control, how quickly we can speed the game up.

“It’s even getting set between set-pieces, try and get the ball in quicker, as well as the breakdown, trying to be a bit more ferocious at the breakdown to speed up the ball.

“That’s what we tried to do in the second half, which certainly helped getting those couple of tries early on that inevitably won us the game and allowed us to kick on in the way we did.”

Ringrose could have bagged a first-half try against the Italians too, only for Johan Meyer’s tap tackle and a desperate Michele Campagnaro hand to deny him.

“If I’d just held onto it, we probably could have scored on the next phase,” said Ringrose.

“In my head, I was going to go for it but it was Campagnaro who knocked it out of my hands, so it was one of those unlucky ones.”

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