O'Brien returns in Ireland side to face Pumas

Postado Novembro 10, 2018

Sean O'Brien returned to the Ireland team for the first time since last November as coach Joe Schmidt on Thursday retained only two players from the side who beat Italy for Saturday's test against Argentina in Dublin.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has delivered silverware aplenty but his biggest legacy has been to successfully change the face of Irish rugby, captain Rory Best said on Friday.

But even then there were interesting calls to make in the second row and back row, where Schmidt ultimately had to sit a number of players - including Tadhg Beirne and Josh van der Flier - down to tell them they weren't going to be involved this weekend.

Ireland XV to play Argentina: Jordan Larmour, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton, Kieran Marmion; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien (Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster).

Jordan Larmour plays at full-back in the absence of Rob Kearney, and the old Connacht duo of Henshaw and Aki is reprised at centre as Garry Ringrose misses out through injury. "I want to get back to being one of the best players", he continued.

"It's probably not a change-up that we foresaw, but at the same time I'm sure there will be some sense to it".

"But we know that drives that group forward, and that's exactly what we want from them".

You would imagine the things Schmidt will be looking at on Saturday are Marmion's performance at scrum-half, Larmour's big audition in the back field and whether Seán O'Brien is primed to start against the All Blacks.

"What Joe has done for Irish rugby, not just for the national team but also Leinster, is evident and plain to see", said Best at his press conference on the eve of the Test match with Argentina.

Schmidt's contract runs till next year's World Cup but he is due to announce his future plans after the November Tests - he has been mentioned as a prospective future head coach of New Zealand.

"He was already coaching, he was already contributing", said Schmidt.

"I think he had a lot of the (coaching) attributes".

"They are very clear with what they want to do so I think it's going to be a matter of who has more heart and strength to take the match".

"At global level he was involved with the Wallabies, he's been involved with the Jaguares, with a pretty decent upsurge in their performances". So I think he's already compiled some good success which will give him confidence, which will give him confidence, and certainly I know he's got the confidence of the players.