Pool D winners Ireland take on Pool C runners up Argentina in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Where to watch Ireland vs Argentina
Ireland vs Argentina gets underway at 1pm BST on Sunday 18 October. Live coverage will be available live on ITV HD and on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Joe Schmidt's side were at level close to their best in conquering France in that bruising battle in Cardiff last Sunday, a victory that kept them out of the clutches of world champions New Zealand. But those joyous celebrations soon shuddered to a halt when the cost of that battle emerged, most notably in the form of inspirational captain Paul O'Connell suffering a hamstring injury that brought the curtains down on his international career in the cruellest circumstances.
Blindside flanker Peter O'Mahony was another casualty from that war, suffering knee ligament damage that brought an end to his tournament. Sean O'Brien's inexplicable decision to land a body blow on Pascal Pape added to those woes and there were sighs of relief all around the Ireland camp when he was handed a one-week ban instead of the normal two-week sanction.
The sight of Johnny Sexton limping off with a groin problem in the 24-9 win over France last week threatened to mar the win further. The inclusion of the fly half in Schmidt's XV will have produced more sights of relief on Friday, only for the 30-year-old to be ruled out again a day later and compound Irish woes.
Schmidt has made just three changes in all, with Iain Henderson coming into the second row to replace O'Connell, while Jordi Murphy comes into replace O'Mahony at blindside flanker. Chris Henry fills the void left by O'Brien at inside flanker while O'Mahony's replacement Rhys Ruddock takes a spot on the bench.
While Ireland mourned the loss of their captain O'Connell, Argentina will be glad to be without the future Toulon man's dominating presence in the tackle area. But the Pumas are very much a threat in their own right. Having produced arguably the most compelling rugby of the pool stages, where only New Zealand and South Africa scored more tries than them, they have passed their tests in style.
Even after making 11 changes in their last encounter against Namibia, Daniel Hourcade's side didn't miss a beat. That tremendous momentum built up since that opening game defeat to New Zealand, combined with Ireland's injury woes, means Argentina will certainly fancy their chances of condemning another northern hemisphere side to elimination.
As expected, the changes have been rung in for Argentina. There are 10 in all with many of the faces who helped dismantle Tonga returning to the fold. A new front row comes in with Tomas Lavanini returning to the second row. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Leonardo Senatore return in the back row, while scrum-half Martin Landajo and Matias Moroni retain their places, with the latter moving to outside centre.
Ireland: Rob Kearney; Tommy Bowe, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Dave Kearney; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross; Devin Toner, Iain Henderson; Jordi Murphy, Chris Henry, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Jordi McGrath, Nathan White, Donnacha Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Luke Fitzgerald.
Argentina: Joaquin Tuculet, Santiago Cordero, Matias Moroni, Juan Martin Hernandez, Juan Imhoff, Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Leonardo Senatore, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Ramiro Herrera, Agustin Creevy, Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: Julian Montoya, Lucas Noguera, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Matias Alemanno, Facundo Isa, Tomas Cubelli, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.
What the coaches said
Ireland's Joe Schmidt: "If he's fit [Sexton], he's fit. "Before we played France in the Six Nations [this year] a lot of people asked questions and he was fine. We don't tend to take injuries with players. We managed him through the week and we have a fantastic medical and strength and conditioning and rehabilitation group. Johnny himself is ready to go. There is risk in everything you do. There is risk in trying to implement the strategies and you accept that."
Argentina's Daniel Hourcade: "The team has improved a lot since we joined the Rugby Championship. We've been playing against the best teams in the world now for four years. We beat Australia last year and South Africa this year. Of course we've lost too but we've learned a lot.
"I still believe a World Cup quarter-final will be a bit different. In the Rugby Championship, we do have the pressure of playing against the best teams but it's not the same pressure as playing a World Cup quarter-final. A win on Sunday would be much bigger than a Rugby Championship win."