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Dublin: 7°C Sunday 28 February 2021


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THE ADMIRAL BROWN trophy was in Ireland’s possession but Argentina would not allow it to jet off to Dublin without a salacious scrap.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @thescore_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Good evening to you, and you, and you Pat McCarry Sr. That’s my Father’s Day present out of the way for another year.

We’ll start off with some unsurprising injury news, given the strapped up leg pictures last weekend. Conor Murray is out injured so Connacht scrum-half Kieran Marmion comes onto the Irish bench.

The Irish players have emerged from ‘neath the ground and have been checking out the sun-dappled surface.

Luke Marshall and Rob Herring come out onto the pitch to warm up Luke Marshall and Rob Herring come out onto the pitch to warm up. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Here is the Irish team:

IRELAND: Rob Kearney; Andrew Trimble, Fergus McFadden, Darren Cave, Simon Zebo; Jonny Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Dave Kilcoyne, Rory Best, Mike Ross; Devin Toner, Paul O’Connell (capt.); Rhys Ruddock, Chris Henry, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Rob Herring, James Cronin, Jack McGrath, Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy, Kieran Marmion, Ian Madigan, Noel Reid.

And the Argentine XV.

ARGENTINA: Joaquin Tuculet; Lucas González Amorosino, Jerónimo de la Fuente, Gabriel Ascarate, Manuel Montero; Nicolás Sánchez, Martín Landajo; Lucas Noguera Paz, Matías Cortese, Ramiro Herrera; Manuel Carizza, Tomas Lavanini; Rodrigo Baez, Tomás de la Vega, Antonio Ahualli de Chazal.

Replacements: Santiago Iglesias Valdez, Bruno Postiglioni, Matías Díaz, Matías Alemanno, Javier Ortega Desio, Tomás Cubelli, Santiago González Iglesias, Matias Orlando.

It’s national anthem time!


2 mins - Trimble knock-on after a long Sexton pass out to the left. Argentine scrum.

3 mins - Home scrum penalised. Sexton hits the line. Best throws in and Heaslip claims. Cave takes a flat pass but gains all of an inch.

Another penalty, offside, and it should be 3-0 to Ireland shortly.

PEN: Argentina 0-3 Ireland (Sexton ’4)

Over she goes from 38 metres out, slightly to the left of the sticks.

6 mins - Great kick-chase by Zebo but a try is denied as his foot was just in touch before he dotted down. That was a sprint to nothing after a Sexton punt.

8 mins - Ireland making all the moves. Zebo almost slips Kearney in before Reddan keeps the move alive. 60 seconds later and Kearney snipes at the back of a ruck but is ankle-shackled.

Matías Cortese is sent to the sin-bin and sexton is readying another dart at the posts. Chop tackle without the arms.

PEN: Argentina 0-6 Ireland (Sexton ’9)

Just 30 metres out and even more centrally located. No bother to Sexton. Time to press home the man advantage.

12 mins - Argentine 9 Martín Landajo attempted a line-out throw as his hooker was in the bin. It did not go to plan. Not straight so Ireland get the scrum and boss it.

14 mins - Heaslip at the front again, another L.O claim. Kicking wars go against the visitors before a forward pass spurns a scoring chance for Argentina. There was a lightning grubber and a frantic chase back.

SIN-BIN: Trimble flashed a yellow after many the replay. He took out De La Fuente without the ball. Penalty coming up too.

TRIMBYELLOW Source: Sky Sports

PEN: Argentina 3-6 Ireland (Sanchez ’17)

Nice kick from out left. Kearney needs to defend well after another blistering Pumas attack up the left wing.

21 mins - Argentine scrum crumples 5m out on the Irish put-in. Paulie wants to dance again so Reddan gets the put-in. Penalty try could be in the offing.

22 mins - Three scrum penalties now. “Just one option next time,” warns referee Gauzerre.

23 mins - Good idea, sloppy pass. The Argentineans were all drawn in and Heaslip tried to pop a no-look pass to Ruddock on his inside shoulder. It was forward so the hosts survive.

Woah! A stunning break takes Argentina to within 5m. Numbers out left as Trimble is in the bin. Joaquin Tuculet steps inside… TRY!

TRY: Argentina 10-6 Ireland (Tuculet ’23)

That Heaslip forward pass may be seen as a 14-point swing. Argentina got the ball in and out of the defensive scrum and busted clear of their 22. There was space in the back-field, Zebo sprung up to shut down the break but there was support. Tuculet did well to jink inside and finish. Sanchez converts well.

28 mins - Cave greedy in possession as an Irish attack splutters out and the hosts find an inch of turf near halfway to gain a line-out away from trouble. I cannot imagine Joe Schmidt will be too pleased with his side’s efforts so far, apart from the set-pieces.

Trimble is back on so it is 15 v 15.

(PEN) Argentina 10-9 Ireland (Sexton ’31)

More idiotic tackling from Argentina around their 22. Over the top and tackling with the trunk but without the arms. 15 metres out and Sexton chips over.

34 mins - Big Dev and Heaslip hold up their opponent to win Ireland a scrum. Kearney makes a fantastic break. Gets to the 22 and cuts inside. Sexton tries to chip it up and over for Zebo. Not the right decision. Straight to an Argentine jersey.

36 mins - Tuculet and Lucas González Amorosino are causing havoc out there. They are running at Ireland from all angles when play gets fractured. Another foray into the Irish 22 but numbers hurtle back and the man is held up. Another Irish put-in.

“Give it to him Rhys; he needs it.” Instructions to the blindside. Either to support Kilcoyne or to offer himself up for a ball carry.

39 mins - Ireland turn down a penalty shot at the sticks to hit the line and go for a message-sending 5m line-out. They have to settle for a 10m L.O and here’s the driving maul…

40 mins - Ruddock drops a dolly in the Argentine 22 and de la Fuente breaks. Kearney needs to turn on the afterburners to chase back, gather the ball and pump forward in attack. That’s yer lot though as the ref blows for oranges, shade and aqua.


What did you make of all that?

Here is some half-time reading for you. I interviewed former [feels odd to type that] Ulster and Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris earlier in the week. He told me all about the ‘dark days’ of his 18-month comeback slog, the joy of his comeback, a heart-wrenching decision to hang up the boots and a sense of relief that he never has to answer ‘How’s the ankle Stevie?’ any more.

Greetings to Brendan Redmond in Senegal, who has posted this in our comments section:

This sucks, I’m in Senegal on work and all they have on TV is soccer!! Plse keep the posts coming faster so that I can drink the local beer and sing like a proper rugby fan! Go Ireland!!!”

Quick question Brendan. What is the local beer called there or do they have Beamish on tap?


41 mins - Penalty coming up for Ireland and Sexton is being told to go for three points.

Dissenting voices on Twitter after a sluggish first half.

43 mins - No hint of a breeze so not sure why Sexton started his kick off so far left. It never came back and Ireland still trail.

Iain Henderson came on for Toner at half-time. His first meaningful contribution is to concede a penalty for not releasing. Tuculet thumps clear.

46 mins - De la Vega snipes but good defence from Cave and O’Connell earns an Irish scrum put-in after a couple more phases.

47 mins - Tuculet ankle-tap prevents an almost certain Trimble try up the left after a smart Sexton kick.

49 mins – “White, white… black,” roars O’Connell as he gores decoy and Ruddock claims the line-out at the back.

TRY!! Argentina 10-16 Ireland (Zebo ’51)

Well worked line-out move. Zebo drifts inside and takes a pop pass from Reddan, goose-steps over a tackle and races in to dot down. Game-changer? Sexton converts from in front of the posts.

56 mins - Poor Argentine line-out but Landajo is brave and nips in ahead of Best to recover the ball. Hacked clear but Ireland have a line-out 30m from the Pumas’ line. So far Ireland have won 14 L.O’s, lost none and stolen three.

Huge, bustling, steaming Ruddock break and an offload to Cave in support. The Ulster man is nearly there but his stretch for the line is just short. Jack McGrath is on for Kilcoyne.

58 mins - Injury break gives all of the players a breather. Play resumes with a scrum. Ireland win their 12th. Forward dominance but Ireland looking somewhat flat after a 10-month season [for most]. 11 for Sexton and I wouldn’t be surprised if Racing have him in for preseason training on Tuesday morning!

62 mins - Sanchez rips the ball from Heaslip in the tackle and hooves clear. Unusual sight that. Heaslip low on gas.

Jordi Murphy on for Henry.

65 mins - This is more of a log this weekend. Argentina truly believe they can snatch this. Scrum in the Irish 22, Argentine put-in but McGrath and Best team up to bite into the tight-head and the green scrum surges forward. Penalty out.

67 mins - O’Connell said last week Ireland knew how to win now when they were not playing well. They now have a penalty to go nine points up. Ian Madigan will take after replacing Sexton.

68 mins - Poor miss to the left and wide by Madigan.

70 mins - Ireland opt to go for a 5m line-out rather than a Madigan penalty shot. They claim another throw. Murphy then McGrath have bashes before Ruddock takes up the charge.

72 mins – Try Madigan!!

TRY! Argentina 10-23 Ireland (Madigan ’73)

That’s what the Leinster man can do. He has a knack of spotting gaps and does so again to jink in, evade two tackles and dive over. He dusts himself off to convert. Game over!

Noel Reid is on for his Ireland debut.

76 mins - Ah, here comes Rob Herring for Best another another Test debut. Argentina pressing for a consolation score for the second week running. Maul is held up but Ireland dragged it down so we have a penalty.

78 mins - Handing out caps like crackers with bad jokes on Christmas morning. Here comes Kieran Marmion too. Two minutes to go.

79 mins - I missed James Cronin coming on there, a while back, but I’m sure he will forgive me. Oh no, consolation try. Time for a kick conversion and last play??

TRY: Argentina 17-23 Ireland (Ambrosino ’79)

Another late score as the winger scythes over. Marmion looked culpable but cover was light. Conversion sails over but there is no time left for the re-start and a final phase of play.

That’s another trophy in the kit-bag for Paul O’Connell. Admiral Brown is flying back to Ireland!

What did you make of that Irish performance? Did any players stand out?

Final score: Argentina 17-23 Ireland

About the author:

Patrick McCarry