Ireland 28-17 Argentina: Luke McGrath and Jonathan Sexton impress
Ireland 28-17 Argentina: Luke McGrath and Jonathan Sexton make major impact as Joe Schmidt’s side secure victory
- Kieran Marmion and Bundee Aki scores tries for Ireland in the first half at The Aviva Stadium
- Bautista Delguy scored try for Argentina but Ireland subsequently started to seize control of the game
- Jonathan Sexton’s penalty gave Ireland a 15-14 lead over Argentina at half time of the clash
- Luke McGrath’s try gave Joe Schmidt’s side the lead in the second half of the Autumn International fixture
- Sexton scored another penalty as Ireland managed to further extend their lead against Argentina
It’s going to be a long day at the office next Saturday if Ireland play like this against the All Blacks.
Joe Schmidt’s infamous video review session will prove grim viewing for many of the squad on Monday morning.
Ireland’s lineout malfunctioned badly at key times with Rory Best and Iain Henderson called ashore before the hour mark while Sean O’Brien and Kieran Marmion left the field with worrying injuries. James Ryan, however, was once again outstanding.
Jonathan Sexton (left) and James Ryan congratulate Luke McGrath after he scored Ireland’s third try
McGrath scores a try to put Ireland ahead but Argentina will be disappointed with the manner in which it was conceded
Sexton (right) celebrates his penalty with Ireland team-mate Jordan Larmour at The Aviva Stadium
Sexton proved to be an influential figure as Ireland managed to prevail past Argentina in Dublin
Schmidt warned this week that any players who were looking too far ahead to New Zealand would be sitting in the stands in seven days’ time. On this evidence, there will be changes for the visit of Steve Hansen’s men.
This was stuttering and error-ridden performance punctuated by unforced errors and uncharacteristic indiscipline.
For all Ireland’s attacking endeavour, they struggled to break down a resolute Pumas outfit, led brilliantly by their captain Pablo Matera on the blindside flank who was ably supported by imposing lock Tomas Lavanini.
The Irish scrum proved the difference with Marmion and his replacement Luke McGrath both sniping over from big drives while Bundee Aki, arguably Ireland’s best back on the night, powered his way through for another, and that proved enough against the resolute visitors.
Argentina have made big strides and brought plenty to the contest. The selection of Guido Petti on the flank proved inspired as he caused havoc at lineout time. Their talented back three of Emiliano Boffelli, Bautista Delguy and Ramiro Moyano bristled with intent all night while young midfielder Matias Orlando looks a real find.
Ireland’s Kieran Marmion scores a try during the Autumn International clash against Argentina
The Ireland players express their delight after McGrath managed to score their third try
There was early drama as Robbie Henshaw pulled up a with a hamstring injury in the warm-up with Will Addison, who was not named in the initial matchday squad, stepping in for his first Test start.
The Cumbrian-born midfielder, who qualifies for Ireland through his Enniskillen- born mother, arrived at Ulster from Sale Sharks in the summer and has made a huge impression.
The 26-year-old was sitting in the stands with this parents during that Pumas mauling in Cardiff back at the 2015 World Cup and here he was, three years later, running out at Lansdowne Road.
He got plenty of touches early showcasing his languid running style as Ireland looked to stretch the visitors. But it was who Argentina struck first, Sanchez stroking over a second-minute penalty after Jordan Larmour got isolated on the deck.
Ireland then got down to work and set up camp in Pumas territory and, after a flurry of penalties, and a held-up lineout drive, the home side were handed a prime attacking scrum and Marmion darted through for the opening try as Argentina’s pack rolled back at a rate of knots. Sexton hooked the conversion but Ireland were up and running.
Ireland’s Bundee Aki shows perseverance as he manages to score a try under intense pressure from Argentina
Bautista Delguy dives in to score a try for Argentina, but Ireland subsequently managed to seize control of the game
Delguy’s face is a picture of delight after he scored Argentina’s first try during their game against Ireland
Frustratingly, Schmidt’s side coughed up possession from the restart thanks to a brilliant catch from flying wing Moyano with Sanchez making it 6-5 as Ireland crept offside again.
Schmidt will not be pleased with the high error count. In the space of a few minutes, Peter O’Mahony hacked a kick downfield to nothing while Best overthrew a lineout.
This is not the level of accuracy we are used to seeing under the Kiwi.
Restarts and the lineout continued to be a problem and alarm bells starting ringing when Orlando powered his way through Sexton and Aki, before linking with fellow midfielder Jerónimo De La Fuente who then offloaded beautifully to Delguy. Lavanini and Agustin Creevy made brig carries before quick hands from Sanchez and Javier Ortega Desio send Delguy strolling into the corner, his firth tries in nine Tests.
Argentina wing Ramiro Moyano finds himself put under intense pressure by Ireland
Ireland’s Iain Henderson catches a lineup against Argentina’s Guido Petti during the Autumn International fixture
Argentina’s head coach Mario Ledesma observed on Friday that the Pumas scrum was not the force it was once was. Shorn of Ramiro Herrera and Juan Figallo, and the retired Marcos Ayerze, the Pumas fielded two frontrow greenhorns in Santiago García Botta and Santiago Medrano and they showed their callowness against this experienced Irish pack as they were shunted off their own ball. From that shove, Ireland set up camp on the Pumas line.
IRELAND: J Larmour; K Earls, W Addison, B Aki (A Conway 75), J Stockdale; J Sexton (J Carbery 75), K Marmion (L McGrath 56); C Healy (J McGrath 52), R Best (c) (S Cronin 57), T Furlong (A Porter 68); I Henderson (D Toner 58), J Ryan; P O’Mahony, S O’Brien (D Leavy, 38), CJ Stander
SCORERS: Tries: Marmion, Aki, L McGrath Conversions: Sexton 2 Penalties: Sexton 3
ARGENTINA: E Boffelli; B Delguy, M Orlando (M Moroni 58), J De La Fuente, R Moyano; N Sánchez (J Diaz Bonilla 71, T Cubelli (G Bertranou 62); S Garcia Botta ( J Pablo Zeiss 58), A Creevy (J Montoya 62), S Medrano (L Sordoni); M Alemanno, T Lavanini; P Matera (c) (R Bruni 69), G Petti (T Lezana 62), J Ortega Desio
SCORERS: Tries: Delguy Conversions: Penalties: Sanchez 4
Referee: N Berry [Australia].
Aki looked to be clean through but then copped a huge hit from the outstanding Lavanini, but two phases later, the Connacht centre stepped his way through the cover and rode the tackle of Matera to score.
Sexton’s conversion pulled the lead back but the sight of O’Brien leaving the field clutching his arm was another worry, Dan Leavy replacing his Leinster teammate.
Ireland’s No 10 traded penalties with Sanchez to leave it at 15-14 before the break. Plenty to ponder for Schmidt and his side in the dressing room.
Ireland would be looking to up their ante but Argentina had the first points of the second-half through another Sanchez penalty as Sexton later sent a long-range effort wide of the posts. He would then atone with a successful 58th-minute effort.
There was bad news as Marmion limped off after 56 minutes with Luke McGrath entering the fray. Best and Henderson were hooked soon after for Sean Cronin and Devin Toner. Not a good night for the lineout brains trust. Schmidt had seen enough.
Luke McGrath made almost an immediate impact, sneaking through of another dominant scrum to claim a much-needed try.
Sexton’s third penalty of the evening sealed the win with six minutes remaining but the concerns over this patchy display will linger for some time.
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