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Published: 09:55 | 8/11/18

Schmidt opts for experience

Joe Schmidt has named a much-changed starting XV for Ireland's Guinness Series opener against Argentina on Saturday.

Schmidt opted to leave the majority of senior stars behind for last weekend's 54-7 win over Italy in Chicago and he has rung the changes for the visit of the Pumas to the Aviva Stadium.

Rory Best returns to skipper the side for his first start since the Six Nations - a torn hamstring ruled him out of the tour to Australia - and he will take over from Niall Scannell in the front row where he is joined by Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong.

James Ryan and Iain Henderson come into the second row, while Peter O'Mahony has recovered from a shoulder injury to take his place in the back row alongside Sean O'Brien, who has come through a number of games for Leinster after a lengthy injury lay-off. CJ Stander is named at number 8.

As expected Rob Kearney misses out due to a shoulder injury and, as a result, Leinster’s Jordan Larmour starts at full-back after scoring a hat-trick from the position against Italy, while Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale are named on the wings.

Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki get the nod to start in midfield as Kieran Marmion comes in to join Johnny Sexton in the half-back line.

Meanwhile, Guido Petti has been named at openside flanker for Argentina with coach Mario Ledesma making five changes to the side that lost to Australia in the final round of the Rugby Championship.

Petti moves from the second row to take his place in the back row, while Matias comes into the second row in place of Marcos Kremer, who drops out of the matchday 23.

Santiago Medrano takes the place of Ramiro Herrera at tighthead prop, with Santiago Garcia Botta named at looseheard in place of Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.

There are two changes to the backs as Tomas Cubelli gets the nod at scrum-half ahead of Gonzalo Bertranou, while Bautista Delguy starts on the wing.

Ireland (XV v Argentina): J Larmour; K Earls, R Henshaw, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Sexton, K Marmion; C Healy, R Best, T Furlong, I Henderson, J Ryan, P O’Mahony, S O’Brien, CJ Stander.

Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, A Porter, D Toner, D Leavy, L McGrath, J Carbery, A Conway.

Argentina (XV v Ireland): E Boffelli; B Delguy, M Orlando, J de la Fuente, R Moyano; N Sanchez, T Cubelli; S Garcia Botta, A Creevy, S Medrano, M Alemanno, T Lavanini, P Matera, G Petti, J Ortega Desio. 

Replacements: J Montoya, J Pablo Zeiss, L Sordoni, R Bruni, T Lezana, G Bertranou, J Diaz Bonilla, M Moroni.

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Image: Inpho Photography/Dan Sheridan

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