Kidney defends ‘new squad’

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DECLAN Kidney has offered transition as the explanation for Ireland’s troubled spell as his coaching regime enters a crucial phase. Kidney has made just one change to the side dispatched by South Africa for tomorrow’s match against Argentina, with Craig Gilroy replacing Andrew Trimble on the left wing. The climax to the Guinness Series at Aviva Stadium has taken on grave significance with the winners guaranteed a place among the second tier of seeds for the 2015 World Cup draw. Adding further impetus to Ireland’s quest for victory is their current five-Test losing sequence – their worst run for 14 years.

Depleted by injuries to six key players, including Lions captains Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell, Kidney said: “All we can do is look to get better game on game. We’ve had a lot of tough games recently and have picked up something from each match. This is a completely different squad and these players are learning game on game. They’ll get better.”

Ireland: S Zebo (Munster); T Bowe (Ulster), K Earls (Munster), G D’Arcy (Leinster), C Gilroy (Ulster); J Sexton (Leinster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Strauss (Leinster), M Ross (Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), M McCarthy (Connacht), P O’Mahony (Munster), C Henry (Ulster), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt). Subs: S Cronin (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), M Bent (Leinster), D O’Callaghan (Munster), I Henderson (Ulster), E Reddan (Leinster), R O’Gara (Munster), F McFadden (Leinster).

Argentina: J M Hernandez; G Camacho, M Bosch, S Fernandez, J Imhoff; N Sanchez, M Landajo; M Ayerza, E Guinazu, M Bustos, M Carizza, J F Cabello, J M Fernandez Lobbe (capt), J M Leguizamon, L Senatore. Subs: A Creevy, N Lobo, F Gomez Kodela, T Vallejos, T Leonardi, N Vergallo, G Tiesi, M Montero.