'Be brave' - Farrell looks for Ireland to finish on a high against Argentina

Mario Ledesma’s side have had a tough year but pose a threat.

Ireland after yesterday's team photo.
Ireland after yesterday's team photo.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

HOW DO YOU back up beating the All Blacks? Ireland will find out for real for the first time today against Argentina [KO 2.15pm, RTÉ].

In 2016, the Irish squad that enjoyed victory over New Zealand followed the big achievement up by playing Canada a week later. Joe Schmidt named a completely new starting XV.

After the 2018 win, Ireland’s next opponent was the US. They made 14 changes.

Lots of fresh legs for those clashes with weak opposition allowed Ireland’s wider squad to get some Test experience – it was the ideal scenario after expending so much energy in beating the best in the world.

This time is different. 11 players who started against the All Blacks last weekend back up today against Mario Ledesma’s Argentina, who have had a tough year but possess plenty of grizzled forwards such as abrasive lock Tomás Lavanini, jackal king Julián Montoya, and the multi-skilled Pablo Matera as well as a smattering of classy backs – though Ireland will look to get at Santiago Carreras, who is relatively new at out-half.

An eight-day turnaround certainly helps Ireland but this is about finding some of the same energy as last weekend.

Ireland boss Andy Farrell has gone for a completely unchanged forward pack as he looks to continue the momentum of the hammering of Japan and the win over New Zealand, while also showing respect to the quality Argentina have up front.

The settled, cohesive Irish pack should also help Joey Carbery to show what he can do at out-half. With captain Johnny Sexton out injured, the Munster man comes into a strong Ireland XV.

Conor Murray at scrum-half – in for the injured Jamison Gibson-Park – and the returning Robbie Henshaw at inside centre – making his first appearance of the season after a foot injury – mean there will be plenty of nous around Carbery.

robert-baloucoune Robert Baloucoune starts on the right wing. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The fourth and final change to the starting XV sees Ulster’s high-potential 24-year-old Robert Baloucoune come in on the right wing aiming to add to his debut try against the US back in July.

“We want to see whether we can back up,” said Farrell this week.

“I hope our energy is good enough because we’re making each other feel good by the way we’re going about our business. We’ll see. Argentina will have a big part to play in that. We’ve got some good energy coming off the bench as well.”

Ireland have the youthful exuberance of Dan Sheehan, Tom O’Toole, Craig Casey, and Harry Byrne to call on as replacements but they also have the experience of Cian Healy, Peter O’Mahony, and Keith Earls again.

Farrell wants to see a continuation of Ireland’s good decision-making and execution with ball-in-hand today. The Irish attack has been thrilling over the past fortnight and Farrell wants his players to keep going with it.

“We’ve used the phrase a lot and you guys have picked it up: ‘be brave’. 

“I suppose being brave can be brought into all types of context and being brave isn’t being stupid, erratic, making poor decisions etc. It’s trusting what you’re seeing and being able to execute under pressure, that is what’s absolute key and that’s what we’re pushing.

“And that’s what we’ll hopefully see more of.”

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More of the same would see Ireland finish this autumn campaign on a real high and look towards the 2022 Six Nations with some confidence.

cian-healy-and-tom-otoole Ireland aim to finish their autumn on a high. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO


  • 15. Hugo Keenan
  • 14. Robert Baloucoune
  • 13. Garry Ringrose
  • 12. Robbie Henshaw
  • 11. James Lowe
  • 10. Joey Carbery
  • 9. Conor Murray
  • 1. Andrew Porter
  • 2. Rónan Kelleher
  • 3. Tadhg Furlong
  • 4. Iain Henderson
  • 5. James Ryan (captain)
  • 6. Caelan Doris
  • 7. Josh van der Flier
  • 8. Jack Conan


  • 16. Dan Sheehan
  • 17. Cian Healy
  • 18. Tom O’Toole
  • 19. Tadhg Beirne
  • 20. Peter O’Mahony
  • 21. Craig Casey
  • 22. Harry Byrne
  • 23. Keith Earls


  • 15. Emiliano Boffelli
  • 14. Mateo Carreras
  • 13. Matías Moroni
  • 12. Jerónimo de la Fuente
  • 11. Lucio Cinti
  • 10. Santiago Carreras
  • 9. Tomás Cubelli
  • 1. Thomas Gallo
  • 2. Julián Montoya (captain)
  • 3. Francisco Gomez Kodela
  • 4. Guido Petti
  • 5. Tomás Lavanini
  • 6. Santiago Grondona
  • 7. Marcos Kremer
  • 8. Pablo Matera


  • 16. Facundo Bosch
  • 17. Ignacio Calles
  • 18. Eduardo Bello
  • 19. Lucas Paulos
  • 20. Facundo Isa
  • 21. Gonzalo Bertranou
  • 22. Nicolás Sánchez
  • 23. Facundo Cordero

Referee: Matthew Carley [RFU].

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