Ireland will benefit greatly from the returning Rob Kearney and his booming left boot, writes BRENTON CHELIN.
It took over half a century, but Ireland have finally managed a win on Argentine soil. Now they have their sights set on a series victory.
The inclusion of a number of experienced campaigners shows that coach Joe Schmidt is leaving nothing to chance here. Ireland were a bit loose at times in the first Test, and it is clear from the selection of Rob Kearney that they intend to play the percentages in Tucumán on Saturday.
Kearney, the 2012 European Player of the Year, played every minute of Ireland's successful Six Nations campaign, and he has become an integral cog in the green machine.
You know you'll always get bucket loads of passion from the Argentinians, but last week the Irish ground them down and came away with a fairly comfortable victory. This week should be no different.
Kearney is one of several changes to the Irish team. Up front, the return of Jamie Heaslip will be a massive boost while Robbie Diack is unlucky to miss out having performed so well last weekend.
Among the backs, Darren Cave will shift to inside centre with Fergus McFadden getting his opportunity to stake his claim for the number 13 jumper. Jonathan Sexton resumes at flyhalf despite suffering a knock last week, with Eoin Reddan getting a chance inside of him.
Argentina meanwhile have made just two changes to the side that was outplayed in Resistencia. Lucas González Amorosino comes in on the right wing, while Antonio Ahualli de Chazal replaces Benjamin Macome at No 8 after he suffered a broken arm in the first Test.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Argentina 5, Ireland 9
In Argentina: Argentina 3, Ireland 1
KEARNEY'S STATS THAT MATTER
54 – The number of Test matches he's played for Ireland
10 – The number of tries he's scored for Ireland
400 – The number minutes he played during Ireland's Six Nations campaign
Argentina – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Lucas González Amorosino, 13 Jerónimo De la Fuente, 12 Gabriel Ascárate, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (c), 8 Antonio Ahualli de Chazal, 7 Tomás De la Vega, 6 Rodrigo Báez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Matías Cortese, 1 Lucas Noguera Paz.
Subs: 16 Santiago Iglesias Valdez, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Matías Díaz, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Matías Orlando.
Ireland – 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Darren Cave, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Paul O'Connell (c), 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Subs: 16 Rob Herring, 17 James Cronin, 18 Jack McGrath, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Noel Reid.
Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images