Two Ireland players top our ratings after hard-fought Argentina victory
IRELAND - 28
ARGENTINA - 17
Ireland survived a tough inspection from Argentina to show dominance in the closing stages and win with 11 points to spare.
Injuries to Robbie Henshaw (hamstring) and Sean O'Brien (arm) may yet hamper Ireland in the Guinness Series but the men that remained standing battled well in the second half and deserved thwir victoty.
Ireland were slow to get going and found themselves 3-0 down before they finally snapped into gear. CJ Stander went close with a drive for the line but Ireland were bossing the scrum and, with Argentina back-pedalling, Kieran Marmion picked and dived for to make it 5-3.
Johnny Sexton scuffed his conversion so Nicolas Sanchez' second penalty made it 6-5 to the visitors. For Ireland, worse was to follow.
Jeronimo De La Fuente, Matias Orlando and Ramiro Moyano all combined to cut through the centre. Peter O'Mahony and Kieran Marmion thwarted that first drive for a try but Ireland were short out wide and Tomas Cubelli spotted it. Bautista Delguy hung out on the right wing and dotted down in the corner.
Ireland responded through Bundee Aki's nice line and score and Sexton's penalty from halfway made it 15-14 at the break. Lost in the euphoria of that kick was Sean O'Brien leaving the fray with what looked like a bad arm injury.
Sanchez kicked Argentina ahead early in the second half but Sexton edged Ireland back in front with 20 to go and Luke McGrath scored a sweet snipe under the sticks after Ireland set a strong platform from a five-metres scrum.
Johnny Sexton popped over a late penalty to put the lead past double figures and Ireland gave nothing back in return.
Here's how we rated Joe Schmidt's men in green:
Jordan Larmour - 6
Conceded an early penalty when he got his body in an awkward position after being tackled. Argentina targeted him with a couple of high ones and he did not look too secure, letting one bounce over his own tryline and shelling two more. Took a nice mark and cleared a kick beyond halfway to settle himself in the second half.
Keith Earls - 7
Was sharp and harrying on the kick-chase, giving Argentina nothing easy. Made 32 metres off seven carries but would have liked to have seen more ball.
Will Addison - 7
Decent enough on restarts, on his first start, but missed Boffelli in full flight to put his side in bother. His best moment was a lovely line break and nicely timed pass to set Larmour away up the right. Grew into the game well.
Bundee Aki - 8.5
Was stopped once by a mammoth tackle but got back up and, three phases later, pumped over for a fine score. Conceded a penalty, late in the first half, for a late hit on Sanchez. Really stepped up in the second half and made a number of impressive carries, with a couple of line breaks sprinkled in.
Jacob Stockdale - 7
Looked Ireland's biggest scoring threat when he got a run on the ball. Gave away possession, just after 50, with a sloppy attempt to keep the ball alive. Took one fantastic high ball under pressure and finished strongly.
Johnny Sexton - 6.5
Kicking out of hand was average and gave away easy possession. Did well enough off the tee after an early conversion scuff and his penalty from the halfway line was a nice moment.Not at his most vibrant but did well in the second half with one memorable kick in behind the Argentine lines.
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) November 10, 2018
Kieran Marmion - 8
Showed keen awareness to pick and dart for a try himself as the Argentinean scrum reeled. Made a try-saving tackle on Ramiro Moyano before Delguy's score in the right-hand corner. Acquitted himself well and got a nice reception when subbed off.
Cian Healy - 8
Scrum was mincing Argentina and Healy was doing a number on Medrano. Lots of carries but for few metres in return. Inch by inch stuff.
Rory Best - 7
Was part of a dominant front row at scrum time and dug away throughout. Lineout was not at its most effective and he missed a couple of tackles.
Tadhg Furlong - 8
Ireland scrum made hay and was their most effective weapon. Some hard carries, close in, but it was a slog. Survived a huge double it but still retained possession and Ireland won a penalty soon after.
Iain Henderson - 7
His physicality was on the money and he certainly fronted up. 10 carries and 6 tackles in his 58-minute shift.
James Ryan - 8
Brilliant drilling drive to counter an Argentinean maul and win back possession. Unfortunate to spill a lineout throw soon after. Made some big drives to get over the gainline. 17 carries for 28 metres gained for the big man.
Peter O'Mahony - 8.5
Won his side an early turnover just after Argentina went 3-0 up. Conceded a silly penalty in front of the posts, on 10 minutes, when taking out a man without the ball. Gem of a lineout steal, on 64 minutes, had the home crowd roaring. Our MAN OF THE MATCH
Sean O'Brien - 6
Was trucking along nicely, without doing anything of major note, until his unfortunate arm injury. Could be out quite a while.
CJ Stander - 8
Was denied an early try by the TMO as he was unlucky to be buried in a clatter of bodies. Got his side going early in the second half with a nice, low tackle on Pagadizaval that saw Ireland win a turnover.
Dan Leavy (for O'Brien '38) - 8
Conceded a penalty early in the first half. Just denied a try under the posts. Secured a crucial turnover by holding his man up and getting Ireland a scrum in a dangerous position.
Jack McGrath (for Healy '52) - 7.5
Some very good carries in the final half hour.
Luke McGrath (for Marmion '57) - 7
Out the back flick pass to Keith Earls, soon after coming on, shows his confidence. Lovely snipe for his try.
Sean Cronin (for Best '58) - 6
Stuck 6 tackles and made a couple of carries.
Devin Toner (for Henderson '58) - 6
Solid as ever in the lineout ad hit rucks wth conviction.
Joey Carbery (for Sexton '75) - N/A
Andrew Conway (for Aki '75) - N/A