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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020

McFadden handed Ireland's 13 shirt as Schmidt makes eight changes

Noel Reid, Rob Herring and James Cronin could make their debuts from the bench against Argentina.

McFadden was a replacement in the first Test last weekend.
McFadden was a replacement in the first Test last weekend.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND HAVE MADE eight changes to their starting team ahead of the second Test against Argentina at the Estadio Monumental Jose Fierro in Tucumán on Saturday [KO 7.40pm Irish time].

There are seven personnel changes and one positional switch in Joe Schmidt’s XV, with three uncapped players on the replacements bench.

Fergus McFadden has been handed the 13 shirt, with Darren Cave moving to inside centre to accommodate the Leinster man’s inclusion. In the back three, Rob Kearney returns as Simon Zebo and Andrew Trimble keep their places on the wings.

Jonny Sexton starts again at out-half, having performed superbly last weekend in Resistencia, with Reddan coming into the team to share the playmaking responsibilities from scrum-half. Conor Murray drops to the bench as a result.

In the front row, Munster’s Dave Kilcoyne starts at loosehead prop after a cameo off the bench in the first Test, with Rory Best and Mike Ross retaining their starting spots alongside him.

Devin Toner – replacing Iain Henderson – packs down beside captain Paul O’Connell in the second row, renewing a locking partnership that was superb during the 2014 Six Nations.

In the back row, Chris Henry keeps the seven jersey on the openside, with Jamie Heaslip and Rhys Ruddock replacing Jordi Murphy and Robbie Diack respectively.

Schmidt’s bench includes three uncapped players in Ulster hooker Rob Herring, Munster prop James Cronin and Leinster centre Noel Reid. Ian Madigan will be hoping for a lengthy outing in the second-half, as will Henderson and Murphy.

Interestingly, Rodney Ah You has been left out of the squad, meaning Cronin and McGrath are involved despite both being recognised primarily as looseheads.

Ireland (v Argentina): Rob Kearney; Andrew Trimble, Fergus McFadden, Darren Cave, Simon Zebo; Jonny Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Dave Kilcoyne, Rory Best, Mike Ross; Devin Toner, Paul O’Connell (capt.); Rhys Ruddock, Chris Henry, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Rob Herring, James Cronin, Jack McGrath, Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy, Conor Murray, Ian Madigan, Noel Reid.

Meanwhile, the Pumas have made two changes to their starting team.

Antonio Ahualli de Chazal comes in at No.8, with Benjamin Macome having broken his arm in the first Test. Lucas González Amorosino start on the right wing, as 20-year-old Santiago Cordero drops out of the squad completely.

Front rows Santiago Iglesias Valdez and Matias Diaz and outside back Matias Orlando have all been included on the bench.

Argentina: Joaquin Tuculet; Lucas González Amorosino, Jerónimo de la Fuente, Gabriel Ascarate, Manuel Montero; Nicolás Sánchez, Martín Landajo; Lucas Noguera Paz, Matías Cortese, Ramiro Herrera; Manuel Carizza, Tomas Lavanini; Rodrigo Baez, Tomás de la Vega, Antonio Ahualli de Chazal.

Replacements: Santiago Iglesias Valdez, Bruno Postiglioni, Matías Díaz, Matías Alemanno, Javier Ortega Desio, Tomás Cubelli, Santiago González Iglesias, Matias Orlando.

The Ireland squad enjoyed a down day in Tucumán yesterday

Analysis: Loss of Plumtree a major blow for Ireland but O’Connell can cope

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Murray Kinsella

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