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Ireland Fail To Fire in Argentina

Ireland Fail To Fire in Argentina

Ireland were physical, had possession and position but the critical ball let them down and allowed Argentina to notch up a flattering record margin of victory in Buenos Aires.

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Ireland enjoyed much of the possession and position throughout this game but crucial mistakes at critical stages in a move cost them the ball and ultimately the game.

Before the game coach Eddie O’Sullivan had stressed the need to cut down on what he called the “technicalities” – offside at the ruck, lack of concentration and alck of accuracy. Ireland failed to do this and despite pressing the Argentinean line on a number occasions failed to convert pressure to points.

Jeremy Staunton, perhaps suffering from a lack of opportunity to practice in the run up to the game because of a lack of stadium access, missed a number of penalties – at least two of them very kickable.

Ireland’s scrum exerted pressure in the first half and a sustained period of scrum, penalty, scrum should have had some reward – not least a probable yellow card for Argentina. Ireland failed to score and the referee seemed to redress the balance of penalties in favour of Argentina at the scrum in the second half.

The back row of Jennings, Quinlan and Ferris were industrious and hard working all game, though they did cough up a few needless penalties on the fringes.

Outside them Gavin Duffy had another solid game, this time in the centre, though his partnership with Barry Murphy failed to click, Murphy will look back on the game as a steep kearning curve.

The back three of Kearney, Carney and Murphy were keen for action, though again all three were guilty of some silly errors – as well as some solid play. A miscall between Kearney and Murphy negated a previously excellent catch from Murphy, while Kearney will rue a late knock on under a high ball and Carney, while industrious throughout didn’t quite manage the spectacular breakaway of last week.

The game was a stalemate for most of the 80 minutes with the only difference being Todeschini’s accuracy at penalty time. Ireland seemed to tire midway through the second half and Argentina, galvanised by their lead, started to put ball through the hand for the first time in the game. A series of pressure scrums and rucks finally resulted in a killer score on 79 minutes from yet another Contepomi – Manuel, brother of last week’s heartbreaker Felipe.

It was a harsh reflection on Ireland, as despite their lack of accuracy they had been the only ones looking to create back line momentum. The frenzied final minutes of injury time summed it up for Ireland – lots of possesion but no penetration or direction to put the killer pass away.

Argentina: 15 Federico Serra, 14 Tomás De Vedia, 13 Hernán Senillosa, 12 Manuel Contepomi, 11 Francisco Leonelli, 10 Federico Todeschini, 9 Nicolás Fernández Miranda, 8 Juan Fernández Lobbe, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Martín Durand (captain), 5 Rimas Álvarez Kairelis, 4 Esteban Lozada, 3 Santiago González Bonorino, 2 Pablo Gambarini, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guiñazú, 17 Pablo Henn, 18 Pablo Bouza, 19 Martín Schusterman, 20 Nicolás Vergallo, 21 Juan Fernández Miranda, 22 Horacio Agulla

Ireland: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Brian Carney, 13 Barry Murphy, 12 Gavin Duffy, 11 Rob Kearney, 10 Jeremy Staunton, 9 Eoin Reddan 8 Stephen Ferris, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Mick O’Driscoll, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Simon Best (captain), 2 Frankie Sheahan, 1 Bryan Young
Replacements: 16 Bernard Jackman, 17 Tony Buckley, 18 Malcolm O’Kelly, 19 Neil Best, 20 Isaac Boss, 21 Kieran Lewis, 22 Luke Fitzgerald

Referee: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand), Phillip Bosch (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)