Detractors may scoff that the hosts were not at full strength, given the absence of their European-based professionals, but Ireland too were missing many of their regulars. Therefore, a triumph for the re-shuffled latter is something to write home about [or perhaps type online about], not least because it belatedly represents Ireland’s first-ever win in an official test match in Argentina.
Leading six points to nil, courtesy of two penalties from the far from trusted boot of Jonny Sexton, Ireland then found themselves ten points to six in arrears, after the winger Montero danced beyond the despairing dives of Trimble and Sexton to touch down in the left corner. Sanchez applied the conversion. Happily for the visitors, a Chris Henry try restored the lead, albeit by a mere eleven points to ten, just as the interval beckoned.
In the second half, the away team were somewhat flattered when they built up a 29-10 advantage, helped by a brilliantly-crafted Sexton try and an intercepted effort from Trimble, as well as a couple of penalties from substitute Ian Madigan. Funnily enough, Sexton and Trimble each scored tries in Ireland’s last two outings against Italy and France, so their second-half heroics amounted to an unusual hat trick. The Pumas did respond with a late converted try which added a little more reality to the proceedings, but the Oirish cannot complain about a twelve-points winning margin, assisted by the fact that they outscored the Argentines by three tries to two.
The consensus of opinion is that big Iain Henderson passed his audition as a lock forward, while Diack and Murphy gave good accounts of themselves in the back row. Meanwhile Darren Cave has demonstrated his credentials as a centre, to replace the irreplaceable O’Driscoll. Elsewhere, Mr Sexton continued to raise concerns about his ability [or precisely his inability] to convert kicks from the right-hand side of the field.
Hopefully, the tourists can build upon this positive result and improve upon the understandably rusty performance. A repeat score next Saturday would prove to be a good end to six months of progress under the new regime.
Argentina 17 IRELAND 29; Saturday June 7th; in Resistancia
14 Trimble [TRY]
10 Sexton [TRY, 2 penalties, conversion] replaced by Madigan [2 penalties]
7 Henry [TRY]
5 O’Connell (captain)