Sean McMahon reports from Carton House
Rob Kearney and Garry Ringrose were the two high profile injury omissions from today’s Ireland squad announcement for Saturday’s clash with Argentina at the Aviva Stadium.
Kearney emerged as a doubt ever since he picked up a shoulder injury for Leinster playing against Benetton in the Guinness PRO14 a few weeks ago.
Ringrose picked up a “bang” to his hip and as a result, didn’t train on Tuesday this week. “At a pinch” he could have played this weekend, Schmidt said, but the Ireland head coach wants all of his players at 100% to take on a physical Argentinian side.
“They are both doing really well,” Schmidt said this afternoon.
“Rob Kearney was involved in the session today and ran really well. Garry didn’t train Tuesday. At a pinch could potentially play Saturday but we don’t want to go into an Argentina Test match with a pinch. We want to have guys who are fully fit and ready and that gives us a little more time to make sure that Garry is able to train Monday in preparation for the following week.
“He’s actually probably recovered from that mostly. At the start of the week, you’re trying to make sure everything is as cohesive as possible. Particularly because we had to mix two different groups and on the back of that we only trained Tuesday, getting back again Monday morning from Chicago, we only trained Tuesday, Thursday. We want to maximise the time with guys who are fully fit and available and had run already on the Tuesday and the Thursday.”
Such is the competition in Schmidt’s squad, a player of Tadhg Beirne’s quality has been left out of the matchday 23 entirely but the Ireland head coach has put that down to the number of minutes the Munster lock has played this season while also keeping an eye on who Argentina have selected in that department.
“Tadhg Beirne, again, we’re trying to manage his time a little. He had his first start last week, did really well and is certainly in the mix. But we had two fresh second rows as well. And we wanted to make sure that they were ready to be in the mix for next week. Effectively we’ll have had five-second rows who have had an opportunity to put their hands up for three spots next week.
“And at the same time you’ve got to give the utmost respect, [Tomas] Lavanini is two metres one, he’s 130 kg, he’s at the peak of his powers. He is a world-class second row. And alongside [Matias] Alemmano, he is also a big, strong man, up around 117 kgs. We need to go toe-to-toe with those guys. And putting Guido Petti on the side of the scrum, that lineout is going to be a little more of a challenge than it otherwise would have been. Because [Pablo] Matera and Ortega Desio can both contribute at lineout as well. So it is a bit of mixing and matching.
“But at the same time, we feel we’ve put a really good Test side out, and they are going to look to demonstrate that on Saturday evening.”