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Rugby World Cup - Ireland v Argentina: Joe Schmidt names four Ulster players in starting XV

By Claire Cromie and Nick Purewal

Ulster's Rory Best, Iain Henderson, Tommy Bowe and Chris Henry have been named in Joe Schmidt's starting XV for Ireland's clash with Argentina.

And Johnny Sexton has been passed fit for the World Cup quarter-final.

The out-half was forced off after just 25 minutes of last weekend’s victory over France with a groin problem but he took full part in training this morning at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Ireland have opted to gamble on throwing in their linchpin fly-half from the start against the Pumas in Cardiff, even though the Leinster pivot has fought a fitness battle all week.

While Ireland have named their premier playmaker in their starting line-up, the 30-year-old will still most likely use all the available time until Sunday to ensure his groin issue has healed completely.

Ireland must face Argentina without pivotal pack leaders Paul O'Connell, Peter O'Mahony and Sean O'Brien, and have chosen to address the problem by drafting Jordi Murphy into their back row.

Ulster's Chris Henry starts at openside flanker as expected, with Iain Henderson therefore slotting in alongside Devin Toner at lock.

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has resisted the temptation to shift Henderson to blindside flanker and pair Donnacha Ryan with Toner, keeping the changes to a minimum after captain O'Connell's tournament and Test-career ending hamstring injury.

O'Connell headed to London for surgery on his torn hamstring on Thursday but was expected to return to Ireland's World Cup camp and be on hand for the build-up to the last-eight battle.

O'Mahony has already returned to Cork as he starts the long process of recovering from knee ligament damage.

O'Brien will sit out Sunday's Pumas clash owing to his one-match ban for punching France's Pascal Pape in the first minute of last weekend's Pool D decider.

Starting XV:

R Kearney (Leinster), T Bowe (Ulster), K Earls (Munster), R Henshaw (Connacht), D Kearney, J Sexton (both Leinster), C Murray (Munster), C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross, D Toner (both Leinster), I Henderson (Ulster), J Murphy (Leinster), C Henry (Ulster), J Heaslip (capt, Leinster). Replacements: R Strauss, J McGrath (both Leinster), N White (Connacht), D Ryan (Munster), R Ruddock (Leinster), E Reddan, I Madigan, L Fitzgerald (all Leinster).

More to follow...

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