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Rugby World Cup Ireland v Argentina: Dave Kearney wary of threat from unpredictable Pumas

By Cian Tracey

If it was the Ireland medical team who were working overtime last weekend, then this week the video analysts have followed suit.

Argentina present an altogether different challenge for the analysts compared to France because their style of play is completely unpredictable, as well as dangerous.

A couple of trips to the Pumas' camp this week were enough to learn that they have no intention of changing their expansive game-plan on Sunday, despite what is at stake.

The comparisons to the exciting French teams of yesteryear have been plentiful. Dave Kearney, who grew up watching those sides, can see the likeness.

"We've talked about that. Argentina are probably more unpredictable, yet they're quite similar at the same time," the 26-year-old maintained.

"The games they have played, some of the off-loads and flicks out the back - they love to throw the ball around.

"We've looked at the couple of games from when we went over there (2014).

"They love to run the ball from anywhere. A couple of times when we were in their 22 close to their line, 20 seconds later, we found ourselves defending our line.

"Their wings look really sharp and really dangerous any time they get the ball, really fast, great feet.

"Their back three is one of the strongest areas of their game. It's going to be tough to hold them down."

Kearney had few opportunities to shine in attack during the 24-9 victory over France last Sunday, but defensively, he put in an excellent shift.

The likelihood is that he will have a similar task on his hands on Sunday against one of the tournament's form wingers, Santiago Cordero.

The level of detail behind the scenes at training this week has gone up a notch for the biggest game of Joe Schmidt's Ireland tenure.

"We always train at the highest intensity possible," Kearney explained.

"If we put a ball down, Joe is not just going to let it slide.

"Once we do all that stuff during the week then it becomes engrained in us.

"In a match, then, when certain scenarios come up like that, our instinct is to do what we've practised in training and that's part of the reason why he gets the best out of the players."

Last weekend, the Pumas had the added advantage of being able to rest a lot of their front-line players for their final pool game.

However, Kearney is confident that Ireland can back up last weekend's rousing victory.

"You don't really have time to sit back and reflect on what you've done," he said,.

"Monday morning comes around and you've forgotten about France.

"We're totally focused on Argentina. If you allow yourself to dwell on the past, you'll fall short.

"It's a quarter-final of a rugby World Cup. If you find yourself falling short on the petrol, you're probably in the wrong place."

Belfast Telegraph


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