Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Darren Cave gets first shot at Brian O'Driscoll's jersey

Warming up: Darren Cave trains with the Ireland team at the San Isidro Training Facility in Buenos Aires yesterday
Warming up: Darren Cave trains with the Ireland team at the San Isidro Training Facility in Buenos Aires yesterday

Darren Cave is expected to be handed the first Ireland No13 jersey since Brian O'Driscoll's retirement in Saturday's first Test against Argentina in Resistencia.

The five-times capped Ulster centre is the only out-and-out outside centre on tour in South America, and with Joe Schmidt set to rest the majority of the Leinster players who started in last week's PRO12 final win against Glasgow Warriors, he gets his chance to impress.

Ulster are likely to be heavily represented in manager Joe Schmidt's team, with Luke Marshall expected to partner Cave in midfield and Rory Best, Andrew Trimble and Chris Henry likely to be involved.

South African-born flanker Robbie Diack is likely to win his first cap for Ireland, while Rodney Ah You and Kieran Marmion could also make their debuts off the bench, with the Connacht scrum-half vying with Eoin Reddan for a place among the replacements.

Meanwhile, assistant coach Les Kiss believes Ireland need to put their RBS 6 Nations triumph behind them and plan for future glories.

Kiss stressed that while capturing the Six Nations title was special, the players now need to look forward and not back.

“It's nice to know that that's in the past and hopefully it can serve us well going forward,” he said.

“It guarantees you nothing going forward, we've still got to get out there and do the things that make us a team we are proud of.

“And if we keep doing those things, everything is possible of course.”

Kiss has urged players to seize their chance against Argentina and stake a claim for permanent places.

A combination of injuries and players needing to be rested has presented an opportunity for several men to work their way into Schmidt's World Cup plans.

Ireland take on the Pumas on Saturday in Resistencia in northern Argentina and will play the concluding Test the following Saturday in another northern city, Tucuman.

Kiss reminded the squad that it is a short tour and therefore offers only a small window to impress.

He added: “This is a good opportunity for our players and if you turn it around there is a lot of opportunities for guys to put their hands up because it looks like they are going to have a team in the Super 18 or something in the future. We know they'll be hungry.

“We have guys that know that Tests are running short leading up to the World Cup so every training session, every meeting, every opportunity to get out there and put the jersey on is important.”

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