Ireland ground out a 23-17 victory in the second and final Test against Argentina. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
The Irish dominated proceedings but were made to work hard for their win having trailed at half-time.
The Pumas showed true grit and determination, feeding on scraps at times and proving themselves more than capable on the counter attack.
Ireland led early through two Jonathan Sexton penalties, before Nicolás Sánchez halved the deficit with one of his own.
Argentina would hit the front though, and it came against the run of play.
With Ireland camped on their line, the Pumas forced an error off the Irish at scrum time. From the next play, Martín Landajo broke clear before setting Lucas González Amorosino free up the right touchline. Amorosino didn't have the raw pace to finish, but the ball was swung left and fullback Joaquín Tuculet coasted over for a fine try.
Sánchez converted before another Sexton penalty sent the two teams in with just a point separating them.
Ireland would retake the lead ten minutes into the second half through a Simon Zebo try.
The match became disjointed in the final 30 minutes, with a number of injuries and substitutions contributing to the stop-start nature of things.
Ian Madigan, who came on for Jonathan Sexton, then danced through to make the result safe. Lucas González Amorosino would end the game on a high for the hosts, going over with the final move of the match.
Argentina may have surrendered two matches on home soil, but coach Daniel Hourcade will be encouraged by the way his untested side have performed against the Six Nations champions.
Argentina – Tries: Joaquín Tuculet, Lucas González Amorosino. Conversions: Nicolás Sánchez, Santiago González Iglesias. Penalties: Sánchez.
Ireland – Tries: Simon Zebo, Ian Madigan. Conversions: Jonathan Sexton, Ian Madigan. Penalties: Jonathan Sexton (3).
Argentina – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Lucas González Amorosino, 13 Jerónimo De la Fuente, 12 Gabriel Ascárate, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (c), 8 Antonio Ahualli de Chazal, 7 Tomás De la Vega, 6 Rodrigo Báez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Matías Cortese, 1 Lucas Noguera Paz.
Subs: 16 Santiago Iglesias Valdez, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Matías Díaz, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Matías Orlando.
Ireland – 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Darren Cave, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Paul O'Connell (c), 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Subs: 16 Rob Herring, 17 James Cronin, 18 Jack McGrath, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Noel Reid.
LEATHERMAN PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Another fullback, Joaquín Tuculet was one of the better performers on show. The 25-year old finished off Argentina's first try well and made a try-saving tackle on Andrew Trimble early in the second half. On another day it may have been a match-winning performance, but it was enough to get the Leatherman Player of the Match.
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