IRELAND COACH JOE SCHMIDT did not attempt to focus merely on the positives in Tucuman as Ireland wrapped up a series win over Argentina on Saturday.
The Kiwi described Ireland’s 23-17 win as ‘an exercise in frustration’ and lamented the hosts’ willingness to concede penalties in order to slow up play. “We got penalties,” he told Sky Sports post-match, “but it only stifled the openness of the game.”
Ireland trailed 10-9 at the break but tries from Simon Zebo and Ian Madigan provided breathing room before a consolation Argentina score at the death. The victory meant Ireland’s first series win in Argentina and extends a winning run over the Pumas that stretches back to the 2007 World Cup.
Schmidt name-checked the series-winning achievement before refocusing on the November internationals. “That’s not going to be good enough when it comes to South Africa in November, he confessed.
On the plus side, the coach was pleased to broaden his squad and hand out six Test debuts away from the glare of the Irish media spotlight. Schmidt noted that some of the new faces his squad had acquitted themselves well while others ‘have work to do’.
On a sobering note, he said, “It was a disappointing by our standards… our set-piece probably saved us.” The Irish squad can expect one final, full-frontal video review session before they are released for some well-earned R&R.