Rugby World Cup quarter-finals: Argentina to overcome injury-hit Irish
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | October 16, 2015
Ireland v Argentina
Rugby World Cup quarter-final
Sunday, October 18th
Kick-off: 13:00 BST
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Live on ITV
Irish missing four first-teamers
Argentina have won two of their three Rugby World Cup meetings with current Six Nations champions Ireland, and look worth a wager to enhance that record because of injuries and suspensions for Joe Schmidt’s side.
Coral go 13/8 that the Pumas can upset the Irish in 80 minutes, though the highest-ranked European nation remain odds-on 8/15 favourites for victory in the Welsh capital.
Ireland captain Paul O’Connell’s premature retirement from international rugby due to a hamstring tear sustained in the Pool D decider against France is a bitter blow for his country. Add in fellow injury absence Peter O’Mahony and banned flanker Sean O’Brien, and an experienced Argentina XV could get at the Irish forwards.
Schmidt gamble on Sexton fails
Fly half Jonny Sexton was a clear target of Les Bleus last time out, and they forced him during the first-half with a groin problem. Ireland initially passed their kicker fit to keep his starting spot, but he hasn’t made it to play the Pumas, so Ian Madigan deputsies.
Iain Henderson steps into the Irish second row, while there are starts at the back for Chris Henry and Jordi Murphy. Number eight Jamie Heaslip skippers Schmidt’s side.
Tommy Bowe (15/8 for a try anytime), Keith Earls (3/1) and the Kearney brothers Dave (11/4) and Rob (10/3) are the usual suspects to cross for Ireland, and they account for nine of their nation’s 16 tries at the tournament to date.
Banned Bosch is only missing Puma
Argentina are practically at full strength, in stark contrast to the Irish, with just centre Marcelo Bosch sitting this one out through suspension. Wide duo Santiago Cordero, who features in an 8/1 wincast, and Juan Imhoff (3/1 for a try anytime) have three crossings apiece, so will be the ones to watch here.
Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade rested plenty of his first-choice players from the Pool C dead runner against Namibia, and that was the virtue of having an easier group. Martin Landajo wins his 50th cap at scrum half and is one of 10 changes to Argentina’s XV.
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Coral’s top tip: Ireland struggled during the build-up to this Rugby World Cup when fielding a weakened side and without the natural leadership of O’Connell, Argentina are too tempting to turn down at a terrific 13/8 to win in 80 minutes.