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Farrell's Ireland finish autumn in style with battering of Argentina

Wins over Japan, New Zealand, and the Pumas send Ireland towards the 2022 Six Nations with belief.

Ireland 53

Argentina 7

IRELAND FINISHED THIS outstanding autumn with a thrilling glance to the future.

22-year-old halfbacks Craig Casey and Harry Byrne probed at the Argentina defence, 23-year-old hooker Dan Sheehan ran over defenders, and 23-year-old tighthead Tom O’Toole tipped-on passes.

ryan-baird-makes-a-break Ryan Baird breaks clear for Ireland. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

There was the sensational Caelan Doris, also still only 23, bossing proceedings from the number eight shirt, while 22-year-old lock Ryan Baird left Pumas in his wake.

The future looks bright but the present is a very happy place for Ireland too. Andy Farrell’s side completed a clean sweep of their November Tests with a dominant victory against Argentina in Dublin.

Their performance wasn’t always as fluid as the wins over Japan and New Zealand but there was so much to like from Ireland once again at the Aviva Stadium as they crossed for seven tries, their forwards getting the better of the Argentinian pack time and time again.

Proven performers like the brilliant Josh van der Flier, Garry Ringrose, and Tadhg Furlong were central once again, while fresher faces like right wing Robert Baloucoune – winning his second cap – showed their promise.

Ireland were without first-choice halfbacks Jamison Gibson Park and captain Johnny Sexton through injury, while they also had to deal with the late withdrawals of number eight Jack Conan and lock Iain Henderson, but this is a team who suddenly look comfortable at rolling with the punches.

tadhg-furlong-james-lowe-peter-omahony-and-andrew-porter Peter O'Mahony captained Ireland after James Ryan's injury. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Peter O’Mahony came into the starting XV in place of Conan and ended up captaining the side for the second half after the departure of James Ryan through injury, while Tadhg Beirne was excellent in the second row after replacing Henderson just before kick-off.

Meanwhile, Joey Carbery was named player of the match after impressing at out-half for 50 minutes and then slotting into fullback after the introduction of Byrne in an interesting tactical move by head coach Farrell.

Carbery has had real travails with injury but this was a very happy afternoon for the Athy man as he teamed up with Conor Murray in the halfback pairing. 

This game didn’t quite thrill to the extent of the previous two but Farrell may well be most happy with this one given how Ireland had to back-up after beating the All Blacks, as well as dealing with late injury changes. 

Roll on the 2022 Six Nations.

Argentina, meanwhile, finished a tough year with a resounding loss in Dublin, with their efforts marred by a shocking red card for lock Tomás Lavanini, who smashed sub prop Cian Healy with a late cheap shot at a ruck, the exposed Irishman fortunate not to be badly injured. 

mateo-carreras-scores-his-sides-opening-try-despite-ronan-kelleher Mateo Carreras scored an early try for Argentina. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The Pumas actually started well and were ahead in the third minute as they struck on transition against a narrow Irish defence. Loosehead prop Thomas Gallo got them going forward with a deft offload to flanker Santiago Grondona, who sent centre Jerónimo de la Fuente surging into space down the right.

He hit Mateo Carreras with a pass and the Pumas’ right wing swerved back inside the hard-chasing Beirne and then straightened up back outside Rónan Kelleher to finish, with fullback Emiliano Boffelli converting for 7-0.

Ireland responded well, with Carbery knocking over three points after the Pumas failed to roll away from a tackle and the home side had their first try by the 10-minute mark.

Beirne’s lineout steal sparked the build-up before Murray and the returning Robbie Henshaw freed Kelleher down the left touchline, from where he offloaded back inside to Doris. Ringrose appeared to go off his feet at the breakdown but referee Matt Carley instead pinged the visitors for failing to roll clear of the tackle.

Ireland went into the left corner, Argentina got up to compete at the five-metre lineout but missed out on a steal, and the Irish pack punished them by surging over with a clinical, cohesive maul – van der Flier dotting down and Carbery converting.

The Ireland attack had a couple of wobbles thereafter as the Argentinian defence muscled up but they struck wonderfully from a midfield scrum in the 22nd minute just after Carbery and van der Flier had made a turnover tackle on Matías Moroni.

james-lowe-celebrates-as-josh-van-der-flier-scores-a-try Josh van der Flier dots down for Ireland. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Fluid handling from Hugo Keenan, Carbery, and Ringrose saw James Lowe sprinting down the left before he offloaded to Ringrose, who found Murray on his inside shoulder. The panicked Pumas kicked the ball out of the breakdown after stopping the scrum-half just short and Ireland again went into the left corner.

This time their maul was repelled but Andrew Porter smashed over from close-range a couple of phases later as Beirne, O’Mahony and Doris all latched on. Carbery’s conversion had Ireland 17-10 to the good with 23 minutes played.

Boffelli then missed two straightforward penalty shots at goal when he really should have closed the gap to one point, Ireland breathing a sigh of relief at his poor striking off the tee.

Farrell’s men did the same again after Carreras made a scintillating break close to a ruck, stepped past Murray, and fended Porter. Only a few metres out, Carreras was seemingly set to score but he lost the ball forward agonisingly in what was his last act before departing injured.

A penalty at the ensuing scrum allowed Ireland to clear their lines and they finished the first half strongly. 

Lowe superbly regained a good Murray box-kick out on the left and Ireland finally brought wing Baloucoune into play, the Fermanagh man twice surging up the right-hand side to get their attacking flowing. 

peter-omahony-and-josh-van-der-flier-celebrate-as-caelan-doris-scores-a-try Caelan Doris barges over for Ireland. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

As Ireland swung off the right-hand touchline, captain Ryan carried strongly, then Doris ran a hugely direct and powerful line off Murray, hammering at the Argentina defence, riding a powerful shot from Pablo Matera and Francisco Gomez Kodela, then forcing his way through scrum-half Tomás Cubelli to score.

Carbery’s conversion left Ireland 24-7 in front at the break, although Ryan had to depart injured as Baird entered the fray and O’Mahony took over as skipper.

Ireland had to deal with sustained pressure in their 22 early in the second half but they finally broke out in style as Baloucoune batted back a Murray box kick, with Baird grabbing the loose ball and surging 70 metres upfield with a thrilling break.

Ireland shifted into midfield after Baird was hauled down by Boffelli out on the right near the Pumas’ 22 and then Matera cynically slapped down a Doris offload to Murray, with a TMO review showing that another linebreak was on.

Carley binned the Pumas back row and Carbery added another three points from in front of the posts.

With Casey and Byrne on in the halfback slots, 14-man Argentina’s discipline continued to be an issue and their penalty concessions allowed Ireland back down into the 22 to strike again in the 57th minute, van der Flier thundering over a pair of tacklers to finish from close-range again.

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tadhg-furlong-tackled-by-julian-montoya Tadhg Furlong carries for Ireland. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Matera returned but Argentina were soon reduced to 14 for good after Lavanini’s disgraceful red card act, the second row earning a deeply sarcastic rebuke of, “That’s very unlike you” from O’Mahony for his reckless hit on Healy.

Healy was lucky to escape without injury and he nearly scored Ireland’s fifth try in the 66th minute as he surged towards the tryline but was stripped of the ball as he looked to dot down.

Ireland weren’t to be denied, however, as Sheehan finished at the tail of another powerful five-metre maul, with Carbery maintaining his 100% record from the tee with a conversion from wide on the left. 

Carbery soon broke out off a clever Doris link pass, then Healy managed to get his reward for an impactful performance off the bench as he bashed over for Ireland’s next try.

And Beirne got a deserved five-pointer in the closing minutes to round out a very pleasing evening for Farrell’s side.

Ireland scorers:

Tries: Josh van der Flier [2], Andrew Porter, Caelan Doris, Dan Sheehan, Cian Healy, Tadhg Beirne

Conversions: Joey Carbery [6 from 7]

Penalties: Joey Carbery [2 from 2]

Argentina scorers:

Tries: Mateo Carreras

Conversions: Emiliano Boffelli [0 from 1]

Penalties: Emiliano Boffelli [0 from 2]

IRELAND: Hugo Keenan (Harry Byrne ’50); Robert Baloucoune, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw (Keith Earls ’66), James Lowe; Joey Carbery, Conor Murray (Craig Casey ’50); Andrew Porter (Cian Healy ’58), Rónan Kelleher (Dan Sheehan ’50), Tadhg Furlong (Tom O’Toole ’58); Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan (captain) (Ryan Baird ’40); Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier (Nick Timoney ’59), Caelan Doris.

ARGENTINA: Emiliano Boffelli; Mateo Carreras  (Facundo Cordero ’35), Matías Moroni, Jerónimo de la Fuente, Lucio Cinti; Santiago Carreras  (Nicolás Sánchez ’59), Tomás Cubelli (Gonzalo Bertranou ’46); Thomas Gallo (Ignacio Calles ’46), Julián Montoya (captain) (Facundo Bosch ’74), Francisco Gomez Kodela (Eduardo Bello ’59); Guido Petti (Lucas Paulos ’48), Tomás Lavanini (red card ’60); Santiago Grondona, Marcos Kremer (Facundo Isa ’58), Pablo Matera (yellow card ’48).

Referee: Matthew Carley [RFU].

About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from the Aviva Stadium

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