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Dublin: 6 °C Monday 17 February, 2020

How we rated Ireland in that emotional rollercoaster against Argentina

So near and yet so far.

IRELAND CRASHED OUT of the Rugby World Cup after a 40 -20 mauling by Argentina. Here’s our match report from the big game and here’s how we gauged the performance of each starter.

Rob Kearney: 5

Struggled to make an impact in attack with Ireland so often stretched or on the back foot.

Dave Kearney: 5

Had a solid opening with some good aerial takes. Wasn’t able to thwart the Argentine overlap and was on the back foot in defence when the Pumas unleashed their impressive wide attack.

Keith Earls: 6

A real livewire all around the park. Did justify his selection in the centre with a tireless work-rate and lusty attacks at the gainline with the ball in hand.

Robbie Henshaw: 7

Has added real playmaking ability on top of his out and out physicality and had it on display again when putting Fitzgerald away.


Luke Fitzgerald: 7

Another week, another blonde-haired, blue eyed boy coming in to the game an hour before anyone would have wanted. But Fitzgerald is the epitome of positivity and it was certainly no harm having him around when a rare gap appeared out left and a smooth running line was needed to carve a route back into the game for Ireland.

Created the second try for good measure and made a big impact in some second half wide rucks.

Ian Madigan: 5

Struggled when playing firmly on the back foot in the first half. Out-jumped and targeted before Moroni’s opening score. Still susceptible to the odd decision here and there – like shunning his bullet pass in favour of a kick behind the gainline to men out wide.

Conor Murray: 6

Some worrying box kicks with no chasers in first half, but remains good at directing traffic and coordinating Ireland’s attack when the going was good.

Cian Healy: 5

Showed a few glimpses of the carrying he’s capable of and created a hell of a contest in the scrum, but still a way short of the peak of his poweres.

Rory Best: 7

Ireland’s best forward in an otherwise disappointing first half. Picked up a knock early one, but still carried manfully all over the field and dug deep in the trenches.

Mike Ross: 6

You always know what you’re getting with Ross. Solid scrummaging and endless endeavour around the field. Was able to throw his weight around when Ireland most needed it to stem the first-half tide.

Devin Toner: 6

When all else appeared to be crumbling, the line-out was standing tall and obviously none taller than Toner.

Iain Henderson: 7

Did his best to take the ball up route one, but the Pumas were too often prepared for him. Forced a scrum in the Argentine 22 brilliantly with a big left hand to strip possession.

Jordi Murphy: 5

Had a difficult task to fill in for the intensity of Peter O’Mahony, but at least marked his day with a try while running on Fitzgerald’s shoulder

Chris Henry: 6

Got on the wrong side of referee Jerome Garces in the first half and that’s not a place a seven of Henry’s ilk can be effective, but stuck to the task and got back in a groove to help Ireland claw back within a kick.

Jamie Heaslip: 7

A vocal presence throughout the game and could be seen rallying the troops at 17 – 0 down. The presence of Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe clearly had him working at a more frenetic pace when he’s used to cruising speed.

As it happened: Ireland v Argentina, Rugby World Cup quarter-final

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The42 Team

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