Rugby | Sean O’Brien to make Ireland return

Rugby | Sean O’Brien to make Ireland return
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Sean O’Brien has been named in the Ireland team to face Argentina on Saturday.

The Leinster flanker has had a lengthy layoff, and has not featured for Joe Schmidt’s side since the November 2017 win over Argentina.

O’Brien missed Ireland’s Six Nations triumph after injuring his hip, and a shoulder issue kept him out of the thrilling series win in Australia.

The 31-year-old is joined by Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander in the back row, with Schmidt welcoming back a host of star names.

Only Jordan Larmour, Bundee Aki, and Jacob Stockdale retain their places from last week’s demolition of the Azzurri.

Larmour, who scored a hat-trick of tries against Italy last week, retains his place at full back in the continued absence of Rob Kearney.

However, Kearney is nearing a return, and could be in contention to face the All Blacks.

“Rob Kearney was involved in the session today and ran really well,” Schmidt revealed today.

“Those two (Larmour and Kearney) will probably continue to tussle when Rob’s available next week.”

Conor Murray (neck) remains sidelined, and Garry Ringrose picked up a minor hip injury against Italy.

Ringrose’ absence means Robbie Henshaw will join Aki in the centre, while Kieran Marmion will partner Johnny Sexton at half-back.

Iain Henderson and James Ryan have been picked in the second-row, while Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong are the props.

Captain Rory Best – who missed the Australian series – also returns to the starting lineup.

Argentina, meanwhile, have made five changes to the team which lost to Australia last month.

Mario Ledesma has introduced Bautista Delguy, Tomas Cubelli, Matias Alemanno, Santiago Garcia Botta, and Santiago Medrano.

The entire Pumas squad play for Argentinian club Jaguares, and eight of Saturday’s team played in the defeat to Ireland last November.

Ireland: Jordan Larmour, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton, Kieran Marmion; Cian Healy, Rory Best (c) Tadhg Furlong, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Andrew Conway.

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