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Dublin: 3 °C Friday 15 November, 2019


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To paraphrase the great Kevin McAllister; have you had enough rugby? Or are you thirsty for more?

Either way, we’re bringing you minute-by-minute coverage of Ireland’s opening Test of the summer tour in Resistencia, Argentina.

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, rugby fans. It’s been a long day, but the game that matters most to you is coming up; your country, your flesh and blood and your favourite (non-injured or rested) players against those dastardly Argentinians.

So, whether you’re already out for the night, enjoying the last of the sun, or sitting comfortably on you couch at home; do join as we chart Ireland’s post-Six Nations, pre-World Cup journey.

In case you missed the team announcements on Thursday, here’s who we can look forward to watching tonight.

Argentina: J Tuculet; S Cordero, J De La Fuente, G Ascarate, M Montero; N Sanchez, M Landajo: L Noguera Paz, M Cortese, R Herrera; M Carizza, T Lavanini; R Baez, T De La Vega, B Macone.

Replacements: J Montoya, B Postiglioni, N Telaz Chaparo, M Alemanno, J Ortega Desio, T Cubelli,, S Gonzalez, Iglesias, L Gonzalez Amorisino.

Ireland: F Jones, A Trimble, D Cave, L Marshall; S Zebo J Sexton, C Murray: J McGrath, R Best, M Ross; I Henderson P O’Connell; R Diack, C Henry, J Murphy.

Replacements: D Varley, D Kilcoyne, R Ah You, D Toner, J Heaslip, K Marmion, I Madigan, F McFadden.

Most of these mug-shots look familiar enough….

… but if you haven’t quite been keeping up to date with your South American rugby you may find some of the Pumas a lot less recognisable. Which is why Murray Kinsella has gotten his Spanish-English dictionary out to pin-point which of these inexperienced Argentines we ought to be wary of. budget didn’t quite stretch to two weeks of steak, red wine and rugby in rural Argentina, but the Sky coverage is under way and they have Joe Schmidt pitch-side saying “the jersey is Darren’s now,” in relation to that iconic number 13 jumper.

The Kiwi isn’t looking for the Ulster man to be the second coming, just to do the basics well.

KICK-OFF: We’re underway with remarkably little fuss. Sky joined too late for the Irish anthem. A nice and stream-lined approach.

Carizza is immediately caught offside from the first phase allowing Ireland escape to near halfway.

2 mins: Positive signs from the Irish back-line as Sexton and Marshall combine and the centre unleashes Simon Zebo on the right.

The Munster man gets an offload away to Andrew Trimble, but there are plenty of jerseys to cover the in-form winger.

With limited camera angles on offer, it’s a blessing to have Shane Horgan on co-commentary. The Meathman points out that there is a world of space in behind the blue line, but by the time Ireland decide to stop running the ball, Sexton’s kick finds Montero.

Here we go. Ireland run the ball from inside their half off the back of a scrum and Darren Cave breezes through the gap.

There’s precious few green jerseys in support, however, and Cave has to recycle the ball quickly to keep the move alive. He does, but Murray’s brilliant pass is wasted by Diack who cuts inside the last defender rather than use the two men outside.

N’er mind. Penalty.

PENALTY: Argentina 0 – 3 Ireland (Sexton 10)

Ireland’s scrum doing much more than cope, a superb drive winning a penalty deep inside our half.

Diack has been involved in so much already and he wins the line-out on halfway…

Sweeping move directly off Diack’s line-out win and once the ball is on the far side of the field, Jones grubbers in behind the defence and Argentina are forced to scramble and concede the Scrum V.

AH, NO. Ireland’s scrum is solid, but they try to work Simon Zebo through traffic for the score. Paul O’Connell is pinged for going off his feet and Argentina quick-tap the penalty and counter-attack.

Suddenly, there’s huge danger. Had the chip from halfway stayed in then there were two Puma jerseys begging to score. Fortunately, it bobbled on out of play.

Again, there are holes to be exploited in the centre, Luke Marshall storming through and just finding himself unable to step the covering defenders. Henderson leads the charge of Ireland’s breakdown efforts and Argentina are penalised for holding onto the centre.

PENALTY: Argentina 0 Ireland 6 (Sexton ’18)

Just as Shaggy says Ireland can afford to defend very narrow, Landajo finds a big gap and makes it to the 22 before Felix Jones hits him with a solid challenge. The hosts are still on the attack, though.

Argentina have to settle for a scrum and they should have converted it into five points when Zebo bit in to tackle Landajo. His pressure paid a dividend of sorts as Cordero contrived to fumble the weak pass with the try-line begging.

We go back for the penalty.

PENALTY: Argentina 3 Ireland 6 ( Sanchez ’26)

OOOMPH! Andrew Trimble comes down hard after rising to take a high ball. Both he and Macone and Montero were airborne.

Interesting to see how the referee judges this.

SIN-BIN: Number eight, Macone, is the man pinged and yellow carded. Referee tells the TMO he had ‘eyes on the player’.

TRY! Argentina 8 Ireland 6 (Montero ’30)

Oh dear. Luke Marshall stepped in a big way by Sanchez and the 10 races through before feeding the big left winger.

Montero still has a lot to do when he receives possession, but he weaves in and out to leave Sexton and Trimble in his wake.

Sanchez gets up and adds the extras too.

Argentina 10 Ireland 6

So much for the extra man.

Never mind, John Plumtree is still on the payroll so Ireland can still revert to a slick rolling maul when the time comes.

Henry comes up with the ball after the big shove, but Sexton is wayward from the tee.

TRY! Argentina 10 Ireland 11 (Henry ’53)

As Ireland aim to follow up that score and make their man advantage tell, Henry is penalised 10 metres from the line and it looks like we’ll end the half with a one-point game.

HALF-TIME: Argentina 10 Ireland 11

The Independent’s Ruaidhri O’Connor is in Resistencia with a fine vantage point to see all the bad news.

The teams are out for the second half, but before we get going, take a few seconds to watch that glorious Montero finish again.


A brief stoppage to double check that there was no foul play on Felix Jones – no chance – and after a big Jordi Murphy carry Marshall and Sexton produce a fluid wrap-around and the 10 romps for the try-line.

TRY! Argentina 10 Ireland 16 (Sexton ’43)

Sexton misses the conversion and almost straight off the restart Marshall has to intervene with a try-saving tackle after Sanchez’ delicate little dink in behind Zebo.

Ireland did everything they could to slow the ball down and Henderson should have been penalised but we many to clear the lines.

The hosts building up a serious bit of pressure through phases and finding the odd gap in midfield.

As they move wide, however, they find less joy and Ireland’s defence manages to keeo them on the 22 before forcing the error and the scrum.

56 mins: Simon Zebo’s been quite quiet, but he comes up with a big defensive play in his own 22 there, slapping Cordero’s fending hand away before tackling and knocking the ball free.

Just as I was about to type that the game has lots its momentum, Andrew Trimble goes and makes his won luck, intercepting a wild pass in midfield to run Ireland into a 13-point lead.

TRY! Argentina 10 Ireland 23 ( Trimble ’57)

Moments before Trimble caught a hold of that loose pass, Kieran Marmion sauntered onto the field in place of Conor Murray. The Connacht man makes a long-awaited international debut.

63 mins: And there goes the other half, Sexton taking his leave to allow Ian Madigan another chunk of international time.

Simon Zebo comes alive again, this time in the opposition 22 and he gives Cave a chance of a try, but it looks like he’s just been dragged into touch before he’s able to touch down.

TMO will say no try here.

Zebo now looks as though he’s just warming to the task of international rugby again after 12 months on the shelf. He’s thriving in the loose with some lovely offloads after contact.

A phase after his latest one, Darren Cave trucks the ball up on the left and Argentina are penalised at the ruck.

Ian Madigan will kick for goal to put this result beyond doubt.

PENALTY: Argentina 10 Ireland 26 (Madigan ’67)

Here comes the cavalry. Rodney Ah You comes on for his debut as Schmidt calls in the old warhorses Ross, Best and O’Connell.

It certainly looks like Schmidt is keeping a tight rein on Madigan. Another penalty to keep the board ticking over.

PENALTY: Argentina 10 Ireland 29 ( Madigan ’71)

So, as we approach full-time in Resistencia, tell us what you’ve made of this Irish performance.

A little bit of ring-rust in the first half, certainly, but 18 unanswered points in the second period was more like what we expected from the Six Nations champions.

Wow. Jamie Heaslip is rolled back like he’s on wheels after Ireland set a solid base from a line-out. There’s a rare one.

A break down the right gives that man Cordero a sniff of an opening inside on the 22, but Trimble corners his opposite number and attempts to choke.

The Argentines manage to form the ruck on the ground and they again raid the right side. Once camped on the Irish line, openside Tomas De La Vega dives over on the side of the ruck.

TRY! Argentina 17 Ireland 29 ( De La Vega ’79)

The hooter goes as Madigan sends up the restart, but the hosts do not want this to end. But end it does a few phases later as Simon Zebo comes out on top of a tackle and sends man and ball into touch.

FULL-TIME Argentina 17 Ireland 29

So that’s it from me, folks. Ireland show flashes of brilliance dotted with frustrating errors that allowed an under-strength Pumas side profit by running an open, attacking gameplan.

Thanks for following and joining in with our liveblog. We’ll have reaction from the win as well as some instant analysis from closer to home coming up.

About the author:

Sean Farrell