Ireland show no mercy against Pumas
November 24, 2012
Tommy Bowe grabbed two tries as Ireland saw off Argentina
© Getty Images
Ireland concluded their autumn series against Argentina with a 46-24 victory that was critical to their hopes of securing a favourable pool for the 2015 World Cup.
The seven-try rout of opposition that clearly had nothing left in the tank after a long year guarantees Ireland's place among the second seeds for the 2015 World Cup draw. Jonathan Sexton and Tommy Bowe scored a brace of tries each, while Craig Gilroy, Richardt Strauss and Simon Zebo also crossed for Ireland.
The losers at Aviva Stadium today knew they would plummet into the third tier of seeds for the tournament's draw on Monday week. Ulster's Craig Gilroy made his debut on the left wing against an Argentina side that has benefited from their inclusion in this year's Rugby Championship.
The opening 90 seconds were painful for Ireland as first Jonathan Sexton's kick-off failed to travel 10 yards and then they conceded a penalty at the breakdown. Nicolas Sanchez directed his kick at the left upright and the next period was far more pleasing for the Irish, as they repeatedly probed at the Pumas' defensive line.
An 11th minute scrum provided the platform for them to take the lead, although it was Gilroy who supplied the magic. The 21-year-old came racing off his wing to take an inside pass from Sexton around the 22 and beat three defenders as he weaved a path to the whitewash.
It was proving a dream debut for Gilroy, who continued to break tackles before Ireland regrouped and redirected their assault down the left flank. Centre Gordon D'Arcy passed back inside to Sexton and the Leinster fly-half showed strength as he broke two tackles to crash over. Both conversions were landed by Sexton, but with Sanchez slotting two penalties, Argentina remained in touch.
The Pumas suffered a blow when Sanchez departed for the concussion bin and their situation deteriorated further when Ireland produced a third try. Once more it came from the set piece with hooker Richardt Strauss coming up with the ball following a line-out drive and touching down in the right corner.
For the first time Ireland came under serious pressure and they responded with Tommy Bowe and Simon Zebo executing a try-saving tackle on scrum-half Martin Landajo. Sanchez, who had returned after passing his concussion test, ensured the attack went rewarded by kicking his third penalty.
Ireland were soon back on the offensive, however, when Bowe caught a high kick to initiate a passage of play that ended when Sexton sent Zebo a missed pass with the Munster full-back diving over in the left corner.
When Sanchez landed his fourth penalty shortly after half-time, a Pumas comeback looked a faint possibility. But those hopes were soon dashed as their scrum backpedalled furiously, presenting Sexton with a shot at goal that he steered between the uprights.
Argentina's collapse continued unchecked as Ireland ran in two more tries in quick succession with Sexton heavily involved in both scores. First the 27-year-old produced the chip kick that enabled Bowe to gather and touch down before finishing himself with Donnacha Ryan supplying the scoring pass.
Also playing a key role in the tries was the superb Gilroy, whose side-step and ability to break the first tackle set up the initial field position on both occasions.
Frustrated Argentina prop Maximiliano Bustos was sent to the sin bin for throwing the ball into the face of opposite number Cian Healy.
Ireland's seventh try arrived when Bowe pounced on Keith Earls' chip kick, but substitute Tomas Leonardi and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe scored late tries to give Argentina some respectability on the scoreboard.
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