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Last Updated: Friday, 24 October, 2003, 08:14 GMT 09:14 UK
Quinlan surprise at selection
Alan Quinlan has been picked because of his power and aggression

Alan Quinlan was as surprised as anyone when he was named as the Irish number seven to play Argentina in Sunday's decisive Pool A match at the Adelaide Oval.

Quinlan won the spot ahead of regular opensider Keith Gleeson as part of a trio of loose forwards picked specifically to counter the Pumas' aggressive, physical approach.

"With the competition in the back row I was not sure what the team was going to be or what the back row was going to be," he said.

"I have to admit I was a little bit surprised but I was really, really happy that I was starting," he said.

Well known for the power and aggression in his own game, the 29-year-old is looking forward to pitting his skills and strength against Argentina.

However, his background as a blindside flanker, a position where defence is a more pressing concern than attack, means he has to prove himself in the more dynamic role.

"They are probably not going to go wide that often.

I play the game quite physically
Alan Quinlan

"They are going to hit quite close, so effectively we are going to be two number sixes," he said.

"I have no problem playing at seven, because I played a full season at seven last year for Munster, and the way the modern game has gone there is not much of a difference now so I don't see it as a problem.

"I would regard it as one of the positive things of my game that I play the game quite physically".

His selection, along with Simon Easterby at blindside and Victor Costello at number eight, means Gleeson does not even make the match-day 22, while Eric Miller is on the bench.

"The competition in the back row is really intense and you just have to look at the situation with David Wallace and a quality player like him being left at home".

Quinlan made his Ireland debut in the last World Cup when he played against Romania in Dublin aged 25, making him a relatively late bloomer on an international stage. But that, he says, has its advantages.

"Maybe it has been a good thing for me. I have got a decent run in the squad in the last 18 months, so it is probably a bit of maturity and a bit of experience that has helped me stay in the squad".

He will need every scrap of that maturity - and all the power his 6ft 3in, 232-pound frame can muster - in a match with the Pumas that is certain to be decided in the turbulent forward battle at the Adelaide Oval.

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