The game opened brightly for the Irish and they dominated territorially for the first 10 minutes. Alan Kingsley had a few kickable penalties but they drifted left of the post into a tricky cross wind. The Argentinians were quite slick when in possession and the elusive running of their three quarters drew the penalties which saw them move into a 6-0 lead.
The support from the stand seemed to galvanise Garryowen and they responded accordingly with an excellent try. Some precise tactical kicking by Kingsley brought play deep into the 22. Following a series of rucks, the out-half feinted right before cutting back inside to touch down under the posts. As in the previous game against Romania, the power play by the Argentinians at the set piece was to prove the difference between the sides.
A well-worked try from a lineout in the corner by the Tucaman blind side flanker was improved on by a magnificent touchline conversion. Conor Kilroy got it back to 13-10 and with half-time approaching, coach Darragh O'Sullivan would have settled for a three point deficit. A penalty in midfield was advanced by referee Jean Christophe Gastou for some back chat and the Argentinians kicked for touch in the corner. The initial surge was halted but their resulting scrum was too powerful and they drove over to open up a ten-point gap.
The consumption of copious litres of water and some strong words at the interval saw Garryowen take the game to their opponents on the resumption. Kilroy kicked two further penalties to reduce the deficit to 20-16 and there were some outstanding drives from the forwards.
Tucaman responded with another try almost from the restart with their formidable pack again creating the platform for a try from a five-metre scrum. Even at 25-16 down in the searing heat, there was no way that Garryowen were going to down without a fight. They again rose to the challenge and Kilroy narrowed the gap to three points by the 70th-minute. The momentum was definitely with the Irish. An attacking move on halfway seemed to have created an overlap only for a chip forward to rebound off a defender and a Tucuman try under the posts eventually sealed the game.
A further penalty on 75 minutes opened up a 13-point gap but in true Dooradoyle fashion, Barry Oâ00Mahony was on the end of a move to score near the posts. Kilroyâ00s conversion left just one score between the teams but despite keeping the ball alive for a full two minutes, Garryowen could no score again and Tucuman held on for a deserved victory.
The hard ground and searing heat may be taking its toll on the team, but O'Sullivan's players were in good fettle on Wednesday when they attended the USA-Tonga World Cup in Montpellier. They then retreated to their base camp in Limoux near Carcassonne to prepare for their final game against Cambridge back in Montpellier on Friday. The squad will return to Ireland on Saturday.
Conor Kilroy; Kevin Oâ00Riordan, Federico Quaglia, Kevin Hartigan, Niall O'Driscoll; Alan Kingsley, Alan McNamara; Ross Callaghan, Rory Brosnan, Liam Og Casey, Frank McKenna, Ed Mackey, Paul Neville (capt), Anthony Kavanagh, David Sherry
Replacements: Declan Lavery, Peter Malone, Barry O'Mahony, Pat Humphreys, Eoghan Nihill, Brian O'Shea, Conan Doyle.
Scorers: Tries: Alan Kingsley, Barry O'Mahony; Cons: Alan Kingsley, Conor Kilroy; Pens: Conor Kilroy 5