Sexton eyes hostile encounter

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FLY-half Jonathan Sexton has braced Ireland for a fractious encounter with Argentina that he believes will be won by the team that delivers amid the pressure of a critical encounter.

One of Test rugby’s unlikeliest rivalries will be renewed at Aviva Stadium today – and in keeping with previous meetings, the stakes are high. For the second time in four years they are trading blows for the prize of a place among the second tier of seeds for next month’s 2015 World Cup draw. Ireland and Argentina have met at three previous World Cups and Sexton believes the lingering hostility adds to the theatre. “Rugby’s a physical game and sometimes there are little arguments. They’re good and sometimes that’s why people watch the sport,” he said. “We’re two very passionate teams that want to do well and that boils over at times.”

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.

Referee: J Peyper (SA).