The team to face Argentina in this Sunday’s quarter-final at the Millennium Stadium has been named after a week of injury headaches and a farewell to Ireland legend and captain Paul O’Connell.

There are just three changes to the side that toppled France last weekend, with O’Connell and Peter O’Mahoney ruled out by injury and Sean O’Brien suspended. Ulster’s Chris Henry replaces O’Brien at openside flanker and joins Jordi Murphy who takes the blindside in the absence of O’Mahoney. Jamie Heaslip captains the team at number 8 and is set to make his 80th appearance in an Irish jersey.

Iain Henderson starts in the second row alongside Devin Toner, with last week’s front row of Cian Healy, Mike Ross and Rory Best starting.

Jonathan Sexton returns at out-half to combine with Conor Murray at scrum-half and Ireland’s familiar centre partnership at this tournament, Robbie Henshaw and Keith Earls, come together for the third game in a row. Ulster’s Tommy Bowe lines up in the back-three with brothers Rob Kearney and Dave Kearney.

Rhys Ruddock has been called up for O’Mahony and could make his World Cup debut from the bench. Richardt Strauss, Jack McGrath, Nathan White, Donnacha Ryan, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan and Luke Fitzgerald make up the rest of the replacements.

Schmidt’s selection has proved Ireland’s strength in depth after a tough game against the French left key players, including captain O’Connell, with tournament blues. Ulsterman Henderson fills big boots in the second-row but there is no doubt he will give another fine performance, given his current run of form. Henry’s start at openside is another example of the squad’s depth with the Ulster favourite providing efficient service at the breakdown and in the loose.

Having battled with a groin injury last week, the return of Sexton is a blessing and will be crucial to Ireland’s decision-making. Argentina have impressed throughout the tournament so far, so it will be a tricky affair. If Ireland deal with the pressure of potentially reaching their first semi-final and maintain last weekend’s composed performance against France, they should go through.

The FRU predicts: Sexton’s contribution is key when punishing Argentina’s indiscipline, if he is firing on all cylinders, we shall see you at the semi-finals.

The other quarter-finals present some tasty match-ups, Wales V South Africa will be a close encounter. The Southern Hemisphere are challenging but the Welsh possess the passion and drive to go all the way in this one.

New Zealand V France is always entertaining but the All Blacks should come through, given France’s lack-lustre display against Ireland. Australia V Scotland is set to go the way of the Aussies. Their pace in attack and domination at the scrum will cause Scotland problems.

IRELAND ARGENTINA
Rob Kearney 15 Joaquin Tuculet
Tommy Bowe 14 Santiago Cordero
Keith Earls 13 Matias Moroni
Robbie Henshaw 12 Juan Martin Hernadez
Dave Kearney 11 Juan Imhoff
Johnny Sexton 10 Nicolas Sanchez
Conor Murray 9 Martin Landajo
Jamie Heaslip 8 Leonardo Senatore
Chris Henry 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe
Jordi Murphy 6 Pablo Matera
Iain Henderson 5 Tomas Lavanini
Devin Toner 4 Guido Petti
Mike Ross 3 Ramiro Herrera
Rory Best 2 Agustin Creevy
Cian Healy 1 Marcos Ayerza
Richardt Strauss 16 Julian Montoya
Jack McGrath 17 Lucas Noguera
Nathan White 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi
Donnacha Ryan 19 Matias Alemanno
Rhys Ruddock 20 Facundo Isa
Eoin Reddan 21 Tomas Cubelli
Ian Madigan 22 Jeronimo De La Fuente
Luke Fitzgerald 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino

#SUFTUM