Kidney hands Gilroy debut
November 22, 2012
Gilroy darts in for one of his three scores against Fiji last Saturday © PA Photos
Ireland boss Declan Kidney has named uncapped winger Craig Gilroy in the XV to face Argentina at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.
Ireland played Fiji last weekend in an uncapped match, a game they won comfortably 53-0, and Gilroy's hat-trick has clearly done enough to force his way into their XV for the clash with the Pumas. Their last capped Test was against South Africa a fortnight ago and the starting line-up shows just one change from that match with Gilroy taking his place on the wing at the expense of Andrew Trimble.
And Kidney has also kept the faith with the same selection of replacements with Iain Henderson, Michael Bent and David Kilcoyne all looking to get some game time.
The clash with Argentina has taken on critical significance, prompting Kidney to revert to the XV that opened the autumn schedule, apart from Gilroy. Saturday's winners will secure a place in the top eight of the IRB rankings, which are being used to determine the seedings for the 2015 World Cup.
The losers will slip into the third tier of seeds for next month's draw and face the possibility of being selected in a pool containing two major nations. Adding further impetus to Ireland's quest for victory is their current five-Test losing sequence, their worst run for 14 years.
If Argentina add to their misery in Dublin, Kidney's position will come under intense scrutiny. Ireland are missing highly-influential Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell, Rory Best, Stephen Ferris, Sean O'Brien and Rob Kearney to injury, but the South Africa game was a missed opportunity to claim a prized southern hemisphere scalp.
And Kidney has defended his team, despite their poor form. "All we can do is look to get better game on game," Kidney said. "We've had a lot of tough games recently and have picked up something from each match.
"Everyone knows this is a completely different squad and these players are learning game on game. They'll get better and I couldn't ask any more from them. When we've been beating teams in the past we haven't gone on about it and now we're not going to go on about losing."
Ireland : Simon Zebo, Tommy Bowe, Keith Earls, Gordon D'Arcy, Craig Gilroy, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray, Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Donncha Ryan, Mike McCarthy, Peter O'Mahony, Chris Henry, Jamie Heaslip (captain)
Replacements: Sean Cronin, David Kilcoyne, Michael Bent, Donnacha O'Callaghan, Iain Henderson, Eoin Reddan, Ronan O'Gara, Fergus McFadden
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