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Jonathan Sexton fit enough for inclusion in Ireland's starting XV to face Argentina

Keith Earls will also strap up an injury and head into battle at the Millennium Stadium this Sunday.

Sean Farrell reports from Cardiff

IRELAND COACH JOE Schmidt has passed Jonathan Sexton and Keith Earls fit to face Argentina in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

The out-half and centre were some of many injury problems after the 24 – 9 win over France in the Pool D decider, but with a chance to make history by reaching the tournament’s final four, the pair were clearly worth the gamble.

Joe Schmidt with Jonathan Sexton Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The starting XV shows three enforced changes from last weekend and all come in the pack. With the tournament over for captain Paul O’Connell and Munster captain Peter O’Mahony, Iain Henderson and Jordi Murphy slot in to the second row and blindside flank respectively.

As expected, Chris Henry is the natural seven to replace Sean O’Brien who picked up a suspension for a swinging arm to the chest of Pascal Pape.

Keith Earls and Les Kiss Earls sat out training on Wednesday while Sexton was able to run. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

With Sexton and Earls fit, there are no changes to the back-line. Tommy Bowe joins the Kearney brothers in the back three with Robbie Henshaw looking to continue his fine form at inside centre. Given Sexton’s injury, Conor Murray may well be asked to take more kicking and game management responsibility to limit the stress on the number 10′s groin problem.

The knock-on effect of Ireland’s injury and judicial woes in the pack have brought call-ups to the replacements bench for both Donnacha Ryan and Rhys Ruddock, who was not a part of the touring party this time last week.

Ireland team for 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-final v Argentina

15. Rob Kearney
14. Tommy Bowe
13. Keith Earls
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Dave Kearney
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best
3. Mike Ross
4. Devin Toner
5. Iain Henderson
6. Jordi Murphy
7. Chris Henry
8. Jamie Heaslip (captain)

Replacements:

16. Richardt Strauss
17. Jack McGrath
18. Nathan White
19. Donnacha Ryan
20. Rhys Ruddock
21. Eoin Reddan
22. Ian Madigan
23. Luke Fitzgerald

Marvel at how relaxed Paddy Jackson and Tommy Bowe are ahead of Argentina quarter-final

Tentative steps for Sexton on Captain’s Run with a difference for Ireland

Aaron Smith snapping at the chance to ‘mark himself’ against France’s Parra

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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