Joe Schmidt (Gallo)
Cardiff - Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will
have to rejig his team for the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Argentina
with injury and suspension ruling out three players doubts remaining over Jonny
A moment of madness in the opening seconds
of the 24-9 victory over France by Sean O'Brien came back to haunt the star
flank on Tuesday.
The World Rugby disciplinary committee
banned O'Brien for a week for hitting France lock Pascal Pape.
His suspension was a further blow to an
Ireland team that suffered injuries to two key forwards in the brutal win over
Captain Paul O'Connell (hamstring) and
blindside flank Peter O'Mahony (knee), two towers in the line-out, both
suffered World Cup-ending injuries.
Their news followed the withdrawal of
influential centre Jared Payne, who returned home last week with a foot
There are also doubts over playmaker
Sexton, who is struggling with a groin injury which forced him off in the
first-half of the pool game which saw the Irish seal top spot and avoid a last
eight meeting with defending champions New Zealand.
Ireland called up Mike McCarthy and Rhys
Ruddock as replacements for O'Connell and O'Mahony, but there has as yet been
no back-up flown in to cover Payne.
The back three options Schmidt has should
be adequate for the Argentina game at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Sunday.
While Schmidt and his coaching staff will
be scratching their heads going through the possible line-ups, prop Jack
McGrath said the wider Irish squad were prepared for injury-led disruption.
"In the November internationals I
think there were 12 injuries and guys have stepped up," McGrath said.
"That's just the way it is.
"Even in the bigger squad of 50 during
summer training we knew that players would have to be used eventually so
everyone is on the same page."
No 8 Jamie Heaslip will likely take over
the captain's armband from O'Connell, who is due to undergo an operation this
Flank Chris Henry, in line to start in
O'Brien's absence, said Heaslip's experience would see him comfortably fill
"We're lucky we've got a big senior
players group, we're a pretty experienced side and most of us have been around
the block a bit," Henry said.
"Jamie has done a terrific job and
we've got leaders throughout the team who are ready to step up to the
Henry added that there was an added
incentive after losing players to injury.
"There's a bit," he said.
"The players that are here, we know we've a chance of making history this
weekend - that adds to the pressure but in the past two years we've risen to