It’s two from two for Joe Schmidt and Ireland as tries from Kieran Marmion, Bundee Aki and Luke McGrath help Ireland to a 28-17 win over Argentina.
Argentina took an early lead through the boot of Nicolas Sanchez however Ireland looked to assert their dominance in the forward pack by opting to go to the corner from successive penalties. Ireland’s front row dominated the opening scrum allowing Kieran Marmion to snipe over the line.
Disappointingly, Ireland conceded a penalty from the restart which allowed Sanchez to retake the lead for Argentina. The visitors showed the flair that we expect from them in the build up to their first try. Matias Orlando bust through weak Irish defence and an offload to scrum half Cubelli brought Argentina to within five metres. The ball was whipped wide to Bautista Delguy who was unmarked out wide.
After an Irish knock on in an attacking 5m lineout, a powerful scrum pushed Argentina off their own ball. They dragged the defence from left to right before Bundee Aki capitalized on a gap around the fringes of the ruck.
Errors in the first half kept Argentina in the Irish half which was particularly frustrating considering how clinical they were in Chicago, knock ons from restarts resulted in Argentine possession while on one occasion they capitalized and scored a penalty. Another silly penalty allowed Sanchez to add his third penalty. A long range Sexton penalty gave Ireland the lead at the break.
Sanchez and Sexton traded penalties in the first fifteen minutes of the second half before Luke McGrath crossed to give Ireland an eight point lead with 13 minutes to go. Ireland stepped up the tempo against a tiring Argentinian side however they were still dangerous on the break.
Ireland’s second half performance was better as they became more clinical and conceded less cheap turnovers through handling errors. With five minutes remaining the boot of Sexton gave Ireland three points, moving the gap out to 11.
While New Zealand only scraped past England earlier today and don’t look quite at their imperious best, Joe Schmidt has plenty of food for thought ahead of next week. It wasn’t a pretty victory due to the handling errors, but I thought Ireland restricted Argentina’s dynamic back three well. Argentina gave Ireland a work out at the break down as they isolated Irish ball carriers.