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Three-try hero starts on wing

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

DUBLIN - Ireland winger Craig Gilroy is set to make his first Test start after being named in the starting side for Saturday's crunch clash against Argentina at Dublin's Lansdowne Road.

Gilroy, 21, replaces Ulster colleague Andrew Trimble in the only change to the Ireland side beaten 16-12 by South Africa a fortnight ago.

The encounter will be Ireland's first full Test since that defeat by the Springboks, with Gilroy rewarded after impressing with three tries in the intervening non-Test 53-0 rout of Fiji at Thomond Park last weekend.

This weekend's Test has a wider importance for both sides, with the winner guaranteed a place in the top eight of the International Rugby Board rankings used to determine the seedings for next month's 2015 World Cup draw.

The loser, by contrast, will slip into the third tier of nations for next month's draw in London and so face the daunting prospect of being placed in a pool with two higher ranked countries, with only two from each group qualifying for the quarter-finals, at the next World Cup in England in three years' time.

Ireland go into the weekend on the back of a five-match losing run, their worst sequence in Tests for 14 years and are missing several injured senior players including Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell, Rory Best, Stephen Ferris, Sean O'Brien and Rob Kearney.