Argentina proved that the introduction into the Rugby Championship has paid it’s dues, they are the real contenders and took no mercy on this wounded Irish team.
With both teams looking nervous from the kick off it was Argentina struck first in the 3rd minute when Moroni scored in the corner after a good kick chase put them on the front foot. Argentina dominated the first 10 minutes of play and scored their second try through a great chip kick that Imhoff won the chase for and made no mistake getting the ball down in time.
In the 12th minute Tommy Bowe was replaced after being injured by a chop tackle from one of the Argentina defenders. Sanchez kicked a penalty to make it 17 nil after 13 minutes. Argentina had already scored more points against Ireland than any other team this World Cup. They were playing fast wide attacking rugby and threatening every time they got their hands on the ball.
In the 16th minute the Puma’s made their first real mistake when Herrera hit Earls with a late shoulder charge and was shown yellow. Ireland then went to the corner where they eventually took the 3 points from the prevailing penalty. Sanchez extended the lead back to 17 points in the 21st minute when the Irish were penalized at the breakdown.
In the 25th minute Ireland finally struck through Luke Fitzgerald with a superb run on the left wing. Madigan converted and Ireland was back to only 10 points down and the crowd was back to life. The yellow card had proven costly for the Pumas.
Ireland got off to the perfect start with a early try off a great run from Luke Fitzgerald offloading to Jordy Murphy who made no mistake. Madigan converted and the difference was back to 3 points. Ireland had a spring in their step and the crowd was in full voice.
The Ireland scrum started to work, winning another penalty to put Ireland deep into the Pumas half. This has really started as a game of two halves with Ireland looking like the half time bollocking really woke them up.
Argentina defended well and eventually caused the turn over, working the ball down field to win a penalty and easy 3 points for Sanchez. The difference was back to 6 with half an hour on the clock.
The next 10 minutes was at fanatical speed with Ireland really putting a lot of pressure on the Pumas. Madigan took another penalty and the difference was back to three points. The Irish subs were really having a big impact and Argentina were starting to struggle with the tempo of the game.
Argentina gave away another penalty in the 58th minute but Madigan was unable to pull the kick around, pushing it just wide of the right post. In the 63rd minute Argentina extended the lead back to 6 when Toner could not get low enough in the tackle. Sanchez made no mistake.
In the 68th Minute Argentina scored their 3rd try in the corner through Tuculet and Sanchez converted to make the difference 13 with 11 on the clock. In the 72nd minute the Argentines put the final nail in the coffin when Imhoff scored his second try of the match. Sanchez would add one more penalty and Argentina have run out winners by 23 points.
A fully comprehensive display from the Pumas, proving it was no fluke to push the All Blacks in the first week of the World Cup. As an Irish fan I really can’t help but think how would this game have been if we had the same starting side as last week. Ireland really missed O’Mahony and O’Brien at the break-down today.
Ireland 20 (10)
Tries: Fitzgerald, Murphy
Con: Madigan (2)
Pen: Madigan (2)
Argentina 43 (20)
Trys: Moroni, Imhoff (2), Tuculet
Con: Sanchez (4)
Pen: Sanchez (5)
The Game Changer
Ireland had fought their way back into the game and it was looking like they could steel a victory when Toulett scored the try in the corner.
The G&GR MOTM
Only one option here, Nickolas Sanchez played the best game I have seen from a Fly half all World Cup. The 5 penalties were the real killer tonight.
Semi Final watch
Nickolas Sanchez , if he plays like that again any defence will struggle to keep him quite, very punishing from the kicking tee. Keep an eye on Argentina’s outside centre Martias Moroni who is a line breaking machine.