Depleted Ireland To Scrape Past Argy-Bargy Test
Ireland kicked off their World Cup campaign with a 50-7 victory over Canada, in which they ran in seven tries, and then followed up with a straightforward 44-10 win against Romania.
Their first real test came against Italy when they were made to work hard to overcome a Sergio Parisse-inspired side, before beating France convincingly to top the Pool and avoid the tougher quarter-final against New Zealand.
Argentina came into the World Cup with some momentum following a solid Rugby Championship campaign in which they beat South Africa in Durban to finish third, and they were impressive throughout their Pool C campaign. They gave New Zealand a scare in their opener, then crushed Georgia 54-9, came through a potentially difficult match with Tonga unscathed and scored 64 points against Namibia.
Ireland suffered a huge blow this week when it was confirmed that Paul O’Connell’s international career is over after he tore a hamstring in the match against France. Iain Henderson replaced O’Connell during that game and is likely to start in his place on Sunday, with Jamie Heaslip taking over as captain. Ireland will also be missing flanker Sean O’Brien, who was cited for appearing to punch Pascal Pape, and more significantly, could be without Johnny Sexton, who has a groin injury.
On-field indiscipline had already cost Argentina the services of lock Mariano Galarza who was banned for nine weeks for an eye-gouging offence in the New Zealand match and the Pumas will now be without Marcelo Bosch, after the Saracens centre was suspended for one week, having been cited for a dangerous tackle in Sunday’s game against Namibia.
Head to Head
Ireland first played against Argentina in 1990 and they’ve met fifteen times overall, with Ireland winning ten of those encounters.
Three of Argentina’s five wins came in 2007, including a 30-15 victory at the Parc de Princes in the World Cup, but Ireland have won all five matches since then, including a double success on their 2014 summer tour, and the average margin of Irish victory in those five games was a healthy 14.8 points.
After a poor pre-tournament build-up, Ireland have gone about their business efficiently and are on the brink of the semi-finals, but they will be wary of underestimating Argentina. The Pumas have been playing well for the last few months and are quite capable of causing an upset against a weakened Ireland side.
I think Joe Schmidt’s men will be strong enough to prevail…
but it is likely to be a tight affair and Argentina +4 looks a good bet at EVS in the Match Handicap market.
And don’t forget, if you have a bet in the first tryscorer market, Boylesports will give you your money back as a free bet if the first try of the game is unconverted.
*Prices Correct At Time Of Publication