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3 things we learned from Ireland's trouncing of Argentina

Did anybody see a 46-24 win coming? Time to work out how to replicate it.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

When we’re good…

IF YOU ISOLATE Ireland’s performances in the opening 40 minutes of the two Tests this month then you will find little to complain about.

A 12-3 lead over the Springboks, a four-try 24-9 advantage over our favourite South Americans.

In both cases, the opposition may have been some way short of their best. The Pumas today looked every inch a side who has endured a long, hard inaugural season in the Rugby Championship.

However, there is no detracting from the clinic put on today. We forced the visitors’ heads to drop with relentless, lightning attacks down the left wing. Jonathan Sexton’s performance was more akin to his big days in blue rather than his difficult career to date for Ireland.

The sheer hunger to attack the gain-line made us a very difficult team to live with and rather than let that drop away in the second half, as has been the case too often this year, Declan Kidney’s men kept the foot on the pedal for the third quarter.

When we’re good, we’re good. But these displays are too regularly lost to the archives behind some more directionless displays where this level of intensity is a distant memory.

More of the same, please.

To the manor born

We don’t often laugh out loud while sitting shivering in the Aviva’s press box, but Craig Gilroy makes us do just that.

The Down man is more than just a breath of fresh air, he’s a full-on ice bath. His youthful exuberance, self belief and elusive running was well sign-posted by regular spectators at Ravenhill, but his introduction to a green back-line was a reawakening.

Almost every time he had the ball, he stepped his tackler, spun loose into space and made yards. Along with Sexton, he had a hand in everything good Ireland delivered. There have been few better debuts that his and it must allow Kidney some confidence in the other untested resources at his disposal.

Possession is nine tenths of the law

Towards the end of the first half, a stat flashed up on the screen to show Ireland with a gargantuan 71% possession.

Ireland’s slick accuracy of passing, the absence of handling errors may have been a product of an extra fortnight together in camp and in Test action. The intense scrutiny of a do-or-die  scenario will also have focused the collective mindset.

Most importantly though, Ireland were able to resist the urge to kick the ball long. The pace was maintained with the ball in hand. The decision to quick-tap a penalty deep inside Ireland’s own 22 was a turning point and led to another break for Gilroy and, ultimately, the second try.

Sexton and all behind him were confident enough to keep hammering the Pumas. And all in front of him worked tirelessly to ensure the ball was efficiently recycled.

As it happened: Ireland v Argentina, November Tests

Match report: Seven-try Ireland rout Argentina

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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