Robbie Diack is congratulated on his Test debut by Iain Henderson. Dan Sheridan/INPHO
good headache

Henderson and Diack make strong case for Second Test inclusion

The Ulster forwards both did their chances of featuring in Tucuman next weekend no harm.

IRELAND COACH JOE SCHMIDT gave a couple of the Leinster players some extra time to recuperate after the RaboDirect Pro12 final by either  benching them or leaving them out for the First Test squad.

Few Irish players can claim to have truly had their best game in the green jersey, during the 29-17 win at Estadio Centenario. However, Leinster’s Devin Toner and Rhys Ruddock may have to prove themselves in Tuesday’s final full contact session to force Joe Schmidt’s hand when it comes to selection for Saturday’s Second Test.

Iain Henderson was impressive in the second row, alongside Paul O’Connell, while Robbie Diack, at blindside, looked at home in the international arena. Henderson started as lock for the first time in his 11-match Test career. He has primarily been used as a back row but proved to be a physical, ball-carrying presence against a physical Argentinean side. The 22-year-old made seven carries and connected with each of his 11 tackle attempts. He also plucked three line-outs and was the fulcrum of a two driving mauls.

South Africa-born Diack, who travelled with Emerging Ireland to Georgia last summer, racked up good numbers too. He made 12 carries, second only to Simon Zebo [14], claimed five line-outs, beat three defenders with ball in hand and landed 10 tackles. His only blemish was opting to go it alone, and cut inside, after Darren Cave’s break inside the opening 10 minutes. The 28-year-old should have passed to either Simon Zebo or Felix Jones off his left shoulder.


Schmidt is expected to keep the bulk of the XV that pulled clear of their hosts in the closing stages but freshen up his team by bringing in the likes of Ruddock, Toner and Rob Kearney. Jamie Heaslip should reclaim the No.8 jersey from Jordi Murphy despite a lacklustre 23 minutes off the bench.

Damien Varley will be hoping to get a start ahead of Rory Best but the Ulster hooker may have turned his coach’s head with a late turnover for his side in the game. Ireland finished the game with Kieran Marmion and Ian Madigan as the half-back pairing. With Jonny Sexton and Conor Murray both leaving the game early with leg injuries, the Connacht scrum-half and Leinster out-half may get the No.9 and 10 jerseys for the series decider.

Cave and Sexton star as Ireland survive early scare in Argentina

As it happened: Argentina v Ireland, summer tour 1st Test

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