sport

Schmidt shuffles Ireland pack

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has made seven changes to his starting XV for Saturday's second Test match against Argentina in Tucuman.

Three of the changes are at the back where Rob Kearney, Fergus McFadden and Eoin Reddan replace Felix Jones, Luke Marshall and Conor Murray.

Up front there are four changes with Dave Kilcoyne, Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock and Jamie Heaslip coming in for Jack McGrath, Iain Henderson, Robbie Diack and Jordi Murphy.

Schmidt has identified the game as an opportunity for players to impress and has shuffled his pack as a result.

He said: "We brought 29 players away on tour and we wanted to make sure we recognised the amount of effort that they made on the training pitch and to be well prepared to train well and they all have.

"So we wanted to give them an opportunity to demonstrate that in a Test match arena."

Three players - Robbie Diack, Kieran Marmion and Rodney Ah You - made their debuts last weekend but are not included this time around.

However, three more are poised to make their international bows off the bench with Rob Herring, James Cronin and Noel Reid all set to be introduced during the game.

"I think it is a massive day for them," Schmidt added. "They have all acquitted themselves really well.

"We have been massively impressed with how they have acquitted themselves in the training environment, in the way they have prepared themselves and made sure that the training changes are reasonably seamless.

"I don't think any of those three guys are the finished product but it will be another step toward giving them the confidence to continue to grow and hopefully add further value to us."

Ireland: Kearney; Trimble, McFadden, Cave, Zebo; Sexton, Reddan; Heaslip, Henry, Ruddock; O'Connell (capt), Toner; Ross, Best. Kilcoyne.

Replacements: Herring, Cronin, McGrath, Henderson, Murphy, Murray, Madigan, Reid.